JERUSALEM, Israel - A small fleet of privately owned Israeli boats will set sail from Ashdod and Herzliya to meet the nine-vessel flotilla from Europe on its alleged humanitarian mission to "free Gaza."
The counter-demonstration is sponsored by StandWithUs, a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to telling Israel's side of story.
Dressed in blood-stained tee shirts representing the victims of the Hamas terror organization, the StandWithUs crews decorated their boats with banners reading "Free Gaza from Hamas."
"We will be there with our own flotilla of boats and signs that expose the real human rights problems. Gaza must be freed from the chains of the Hamas dictatorship and its Iranian sponsors," said Roman Baron, who helped organize the counter-demonstration.
"Ending Israel's restrictions on Gaza could be easy. Hamas just has to end its war, accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state and agree to past PLO-Israel peace agreements. Our flotilla will educate the public and hopefully pave the way for a better future for Israelis and Palestinians," Baron said.
Michael Dickson, director of the Israeli branch of StandWithUs, said the activists had not done their homework.
"These so-called human rights activists who plan to meet [Hamas chief Ismail] Haniyeh are directly supporting Iranian President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and his genocidal threats against Israel," Dickson said.
"If the activists had done their homework instead of believing Hamas propaganda, they would also have found out that their assistance isn't needed. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," he said, citing a report in the Financial Times on the 'glut' of goods in Gaza.
"Other media report that an Olympic-sized swimming pool has just been built on the Strip and that fancy restaurants and luxury goods are doing brisk business," Dickson said.
"This is in addition to the over 94,500 tons of goods and medical supplies that Israel transferred to Gaza just between January and March 2010," Dickson said, making it clear that the so-called humanitarian mission "is not what it claims it is."
Click here to visit the StandWithUs website.