Wash. Post smears Israel, stands history on its head

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos intercepted a flotilla of six ships sailing toward Gaza with the stated intention of breaking an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the territory, ruled by the terrorist Hamas organization.

Activists aboard five of the six ships passively surrendered their vessels.  As a result, nobody was injured.

But aboard the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish vessel, events took an ugly turn.  As Israeli commandos rappelled from a hovering helicopter onto the top deck of the ship, they were set upon by a band of extremists, who attacked them with axes, metal bars and other makeshift weapons.  One or more commandos was shot with weapons the attackers managed to take from the commandos.  One commando, after being brutally beaten, was tossed overboard onto the deck below.  With some commandos fighting for their lives, other commandos then directly opened fire on the attackers.

Extensive  video footage confirms  this sequence.  Deadly force by activists on the ship preceded Israeli use of live fire. In the course of the  battle, 9 activists -- all Turks -- were killed.  Israel' subsequent investigation of the attackers reportedly found that they were, in fact, paid terrorist mercenaries. They all had pockets full of money in the same amount.  On the other side, seven Israeli commandos were wounded, some critically.

In its June 18, 2011, edition, the Washington Post carries a report by Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg that Turkish sponsors of last year's bloody incident have decided to pull out from another upcoming flotilla attempt to break the Gaza blockade because of what they termed technical problems on the Mavi Marmara.  In fact, they bowed to pressure from the Turkish government which asked them to desist this time -- what with Ankara already having its hands full with thousands of Syrian refugees seeking asylum from a brutal, bloody crackdown by the Assad regime. ("Aid flotilla flagship will not sail to Gaza" (page A7).

However, in the process of writing his piece, Greenberg turns history on its head in describing the 2010 blockade-running incident.

Here's how he puts it: "The Mavi Marmara was the target of a deadly raid by Israeli commandos last year."

Since this is his only reference to last year's incident, readers with little or no memory are left with the distinct impression that it was Israeli commandos who set out to stage a "deadly raid" aboard the Mavi Marmara.  By writing that Israel made the ship a "target" for  its "deadly raid," Greenberg suggests that Israel, deliberately and with an act of clear volition and intent, set out to kill passengers aboard the ship -- the opposite of what actually happened. 

When it came to spilling blood, it actually was a group of Turkish extremists who armed themselves with lethal weapons and brutally attacked the commandos before a single shot was fired in self-defense by the Israeli side.

Greenberg turns this around and makes it appear that it was the Israeli commandos who sparked the incident and went on the attack with deadly force when they actually responded in self-defense to a vicious attack that nearly killed several commandos.

Historical truth takes a backseat at the Washington Post, shoved aside by another anti-Israel libel.