An aid ship transporting medical supplies to Gaza will leave Lebanon in the coming days with dozens of women activists on board, one of the organisers told AFP on Tuesday.As I reported yesterday, the Palestinian Arabic media was reporting that Hezbollah was behind the ship. For for more direct proof, just go to the Syria Truth website.
“We are all independent women who believe in breaking the siege on Gaza and are committed to the enmity of the Zionist entity,” said Samar Hajj, who is coordinating the trip.
She stressed the women were not affiliated with the militant group Hezbollah, or any other political organisation.
“This has nothing to do with Hezbollah even though it is an honour for us to be supporters of the resistance,” said Hajj, whose husband Ali Hajj was one of four generals detained for nearly four years in connection with the 2005 car bombing that killed then Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri and 22 others.
Ali Hajj, who was domestic security chief, was released from prison in April last year after a UN-backed tribunal said there was insufficient evidence against the generals.
In one article, written back on June 6th, it describes how Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah publicly said he will be supporting many ships to be sent to Gaza, and hinting that Turkey was coordinating its efforts to break the blockade by coordinating with Hezbollah, saying that "the red flag is making decisions based on the yellow flag."
That article also quoted sources saying that Nasrallah was planning to hide Hezbollah's actions by pretending that the ships are being sent by NGOs - some pre-existing and some to be invented by Hezbollah. For example, one of the weekend's ships is sponsored by "Reporters Without Limits" but it is not, as some reported, Reporters Without Borders, rather an organization completely made up by Hezbollah and employing Hezbollah reporters!
These deceptions are being made, according to that article, "in full coordination with Damascus and Tehran," in order to embarrass Israel.
More worryingly, the article says that Hezbollah was dismissive of the Free Gaza organizers of the "Rachel Corrie" ship, saying they were naive and silly for giving up meekly without a fight. This gave Israel a propaganda victory by contrasting their actions against those of IHH. The implication is that Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors plan to provoke another Mavi Marmara response.
A later Syria Truth article states that Samar Hajj, the spokeswoman of the women's ship, came up with the idea for that ship after hearing Nasrallah speak at a rally for the victims of the flotilla raid saying that he wanted to send ships from Lebanon. She contacted Hezbollah leaders who quickly coordinated the logistics of what she referred to as a ship of "Women's Resistors" - something that an individual could not possibly do in such a short time period (it takes Free Gaza months to arrange even a single boat.)
As we saw from the "freedom flotilla' incident, while Free Gaza and others offer de facto support for armed "resistance," they had no intention to start a fight with the IDF - it was the IHH, in almost certain coordination with Turkey, that planned a violent confrontation. Hezbollah is no less violent that IHH. Given the fact that Hezbollah views these ships as military, with the sole goal to provoke another Mavi Marmara incident, a women's ship may be the perfect way to accomplish that. We already see that the media even today refers to the flotilla as an "aid" flotilla when even its own organizers admit that the aid is a ruse to gain a political victory.
Nothing would make Israel's enemies happier than to see women being killed aboard this ship. I don't know how they might try to provoke the IDF into violence - maybe explosive booby traps on some areas of the ship that the women will lead the soldiers to. Or maybe equipping the "humanitarians" with paintball guns or toy guns that look real to provoke a deadly response.
The "reporter" ship might be an even bigger problem, with Hezbollah fighters and members masquerading as reporters secure in the knowledge that the media will be naturally sympathetic to their own people. The people on that ship must be identified and exposed immediately.
Hezbollah already has a history of trying to imitate and outdo other successful operations against Israel. Their kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon, provoking the 2006 war, came only weeks after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in Gaza - a major embarrassment for Israel at the time. The first Syria Today article indicates that Hezbollah has the same itch again.
Let's hope that the cameras are rolling from many different angles when the ships are intercepted.
UPDATE: YNet Hebrew reveals the ties between the "Free Palestine" movement that is organizing the weekend's ships and Hezbollah - and publishes a picture of Samar Hajj with Hassan Nasrallah:
UPDATE 2:Added paintball scenario above.