Whoever stayed up late Sunday night was able to view the drama that took place at sea via a live broadcast. The popular al-Jazeera network and mostly the website used by the Gaza flotilla activists showed Navy commandoes raiding the “anti-blockade” ships.
The images were accompanied with the voices of activists and Hamas spokesmen who repeatedly condemned Israel over what goes on in Gaza and elsewhere. Only one voice went silent – Israel.
Until the press conference held by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon at 10:30 am, more than six hours after the incident started, Israel did not issue even one official response to the grave events. Even in Ayalon’s press conference, which was indeed opened in English, there was barely any foreign media presence. The few people that made it did not present any questions.
And what’s worse than that: Images of the violence on the Mavi Marmara ship or any other visual information from the Israeli side were only provided many hours later. The defense minister, IDF chief of staff, and Navy commander told journalists in a press briefing about the fierce resistance encountered by the troops: Knives, bats, clubs, and even guns. Yet we saw none of it early on.
All that was left on the screen were the photos provided by the Turkish activists via their cell phones, accompanied by rumors about Sheikh Raed Salah’s death. Did Israel’s public relationship establishment fall asleep again?
The National PR headquarters argued that the responsibility for this is born by the IDF spokesman, yet the IDF Spokesman’s Office pointed its finger back at the Foreign Ministry and the very same National PR headquarters.
The PR chief, Nir Hefetz, was in Canada with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hasbara Minister Yuli Edelstein’s voice was not heard either, because he too was with the prime minister in Canada.
And so, for long hours, the harsh accusations against the violent Israel, accompanied by furious protests in Turkey and harsh condemnations across the world, were left without an Israeli response.