According to information from the Turkish-based IHH Human Rights Foundation, a second flotilla of boats will set sail for Gaza sometime in June in another deliberate attempt to break what they, and much of the world’s nations, consider an illegitimate Israeli blockade that stops even humanitarian aid to citizens of that beleaguered strip of land.  

The first Gaza flotilla, May 31, 2010, was met with massive Israeli military opposition by sea and by air that resulted in nine civilian deaths aboard the Mavi Marmara. This time, the repaired Mavi Marmara will be accompanied by 20 other ships and approximately 2,000 peace activists from more than 20 nations with a long waiting list of persons wanting to participate. Their goal is the same: to try their best to inform the world that the 63-year-old embargo in Gaza is neither legitimate nor sustainable.

Citizens from all the Scandinavian countries, plus Spain, France, Italy, the U.S., Britain, Canada and others will be on board. Israel has been asking their governments to try and dissuade persons from participating, particularly Turkey, from which the Mavi Marmara will set sail.

So far, governments are simply advising their citizens of the possible dangers, but are doing nothing to prevent them from participating. They are also advising Israel that, as democratic nations, there is little more that they can do.

Turkey is also waiting for some type of apology or compensation to the families of the nine Turkish men shot dead by the Israelis in last year’s event. In a more perilous tone, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has advised Israel not to attempt to stop this new flotilla.

Israel, on the other hand, is still trying to explain away last year’s violence by pointing out that seven of their commandos were wounded and have shown photos of table utensils, clubs and iron bars that they claim were used as weapons.

This year’s event places Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a most awkward position, particularly as he was forced to postpone a trip to meet with President Obama last year because of the flotilla and has just returned from this year’s interview with the American president that can only be described as a huge disappointment for Israel.

The flotilla will, as last year, be delivering only humanitarian aid. However, Israel is concerned that these or future ships could be delivering weapons to militants and, to emphasize that concern, points out that in the intervening year numerous rockets have been hurled from Gaza into Israel.

The event, at this time, appears to be unstoppable, and no one can predict the outcome. If Israel chooses to once again attack an unarmed civilian flotilla with deadly military force, the negative publicity will be even greater than last year.   

Obama told Netanyahu last week that Israel’s keeping 1.5 million Palestinians in perpetual subjugation is unsustainable and that now is the time to seriously explore a viable, two-state solution based on borders established by the United Nations in 1967 as a starting point.

Hopefully, the result of this flotilla will further an eventual peaceful outcome in the festering, tension-ridden Israeli-Palestinian situation.