For over a week here in Turkey, I have been unable to access the website of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At first I assumed the site was down for routine maintenance purposes and to allow experts time to craft an explanation—possibly with accompanying video—of how the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were merely trying to engage humanitarian activists on board the Mavi Marmara in a friendly game of paintball.
I have since discovered that I am also unable to access the websites of the IDF and the Shabak, among other entities. This may either be a result of Israeli expertise in interfering with communications systems, especially those used by Muslims, or an indication that such sites have joined YouTube, Google, and pornography on the list of web-borne items requiring Turkish censorship.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry website is a valuable source of up-to-the-minute information in times of conflict, and I learned from my last successful visit to the site on May 31 that “IDF forces met with pre-planned violence when attempting to board flotilla”—which nonetheless failed to explain why Israel did not cleverly avert the plot by simply refraining from boarding the humanitarian aid vessels.
Past functions of the site meanwhile include its diligent tabulation of Israelis killed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, in which the ratio of Palestinian civilian fatalities to Israeli was roughly 400:1, and an invitation during the same assault to “[v]iew footage of rocket landing in Ashkelon soccer stadium” which somehow featured neither a soccer stadium nor a rocket.
As for more romantic labels applied to Gaza-related fatalities, Operation Summer Rains of 2006 has recently been joined by Operation Sea Breeze, the euphemism for the flotilla attack. Blockage of relevant websites, however, unfortunately prevents inhabitants of Turkey from discovering whether said breeze was what blew the IDF into confrontation with suicidal activists in international waters.
[Click here to read an article I wrote last year detailing more feats of the Israeli Foreign Ministry during Operation Cast Lead]