Islamist media is reporting that the previous head of the Hamas Political bureau has called on organizers to resume the flotillas attempting to breach the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza. According to a Middle East Monitor report:
The previous head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal, the other day called on the organisers of the Freedom Flotillas to resume their trips in an initiative to damage the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.Speaking throughout a digital conference arranged by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) on the 10 th wedding anniversary of the pro-Gaza Freedom Flotilla fleet, Meshaal emphasized that the fleet’s objective ought to be damaging the Israeli siege, safeguarding Jerusalem as well as Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as launching Palestinian detainees as well as detainees.“We recall with pride, honour and loyalty the ten dear martyrs who had sailed towards Palestine to break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and sacrificed their lives for the sake of values and humanity,” he stated in referral to the protestors that were eliminated through Israeli profession pressures that plundered the help ships in 2010.
We last reported on the Gaza flotillas in October 2016 when the Israeli Navy had peaceably intercepted the so-called “Women’s Boat to Gaza” that been underway to Gaza in yet another attempt to breach Israeli’s maritime blockade. The Jerusalem Post had reported in September of that year that the flotilla organizers had included known European Hamas activists Zaher Birawi and Mazen Kahel, who have also been involved with other flotillas. Other GMBDW reporting on the various Gaza flotillas has included:
- In January 2011, the GMBDW editor published a report titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” that documented the role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Turkish government in the first, June 2010 Gaza flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces.
- In June 2011, we cited the report by analyst Ehud Rosen who documented the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood ties of the unsuccessful 2nd Gaza flotilla
- In March 2015, the GMBDW reported on the third Gaza flotilla whose Global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas sponsorship was documented in a later post. As we reported in June of that year, this third effort was also a failure as the lead ship was denied access to Gaza and was diverted to an Israeli port by Israeli naval forces.
Although Hamas has lately claimed that it no longer has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, there are good reasons to be skeptical. If nothing else, the recent moves appear to concern only the Egyptian organization and not the wider Global Muslim Brotherhood which is near universal in its support of Hamas. The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations. A Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman revealed that a coalition of London-based Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were behind the mass demonstrations staged to protest Israeli actions in the 2008 Gaza war and the Global Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish affiliates were also intimately involved, along with the Turkish government, in the June 2010 Gaza flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. Following a period of seeming ascension related to the period of Egyptian rule by the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization was forced to scramble to try and find other state sponsors after Mohamed Morsi was deposed as President. In September 2013, it appeared that Hamas had succeeded in re-establishing close ties with Iran. In January 2013, Israeli intelligence sources claimed that Turkey has replaced Iran as the chief source of Hamas financing.