Before the Freedom Flotilla set sail, Turkish officials searched every nook and cranny of those six boats, and videotaped that search, and gave the video tapes to Israel. Before the cargo was loaded onto those boats, every cargo container was searched, and every item that was put into them was videotaped, and those videotapes were also given to Israel in advance. Before being allowed to board, every passenger on those six boats was hand-searched and then x-rayed by Turkish officials, who certified to Israel, in advance, that none of them were armed. Turkey, Israel's only actual ally in the region, wanted there to be no ambiguity over this fact: there were no weapons on board the Freedom Flotilla. Period. In hopes of avoiding war between their two nations, Turkey, which had no legal grounds to stop these boats from sailing, went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that Israel could not accuse the blockade runners of smuggling weapons to terrorists.
Israel sent ships to intercept those boats deep into international waters, at 4:00 am local time, and ordered them to turn around. According to multiple witnesses speaking from those boats in real time via their cell phones, the captains of all six boats said that they would not do so, but that they would only resist passively if the Israelis boarded the boats, forced their way into the cockpits, and stopped the boats themselves. According to multiple witnesses who reported this in real time, via cellphone at the time from the scene, the Israeli navy boats then opened fire on the lead ships. Israel is now holding those witnesses in captivity and denying reporters access to them, in hopes that they can first convince the public that those cellphone callers were lying when they say that Israel fired first; Israel said at the time that before they opened fire, before they even tried to board the boats, they had come under small arms fire from the flotilla ... from guns that Israel's now-former ally certified did not exist, and which even Israel now admits weren't found.
Only after firing what was at the very least suppressive fire in the direction of people they knew for a fact to be unarmed civilians did Israeli commandos attempt to board the flotilla's ships. On the five observer ships, the commandos outnumbered or very nearly outnumbered the witnesses, who surrendered without resistance, but on the actual cargo ship, the civilians who had been shot at by Israeli commandos went visibly berserk, beating the first wave to touch the deck senseless with whatever blunt objects came to hand, visibly tried to wreck their helicopter by anchoring the ziplines to the moving boat, and in two cases stole guns from the commandos and returned fire. Good for them.
Look: I have no love for Hamas, and no meaningful sympathy for any idiot who voted for Hamas. Whatever charity they provide (using Syrian funding), Hamas is the most cowardly kind of warrior the human race has ever seen. Ever since the beginning of the Second Intifadah, Hamas has concentrated all of their attacks on the softest and most vulnerable targets: Israeli civilians. They stopped even trying to fight Israeli Defense Force occupation troops, because that's too hard. They stopped even trying to resist the Israeli occupation government, because they have defenses and sometimes they shoot back. Instead they do horrendous things like the Passover bombing, a few years back, blowing up a synagogue full of elderly people, women, and children during a religious service. It's a legendarily, famously, notoriously stupid and ineffective tactic. No army that has used this as their primary weapon has ever won, because all it does is demonstrate you are too morally corrupt to rule by moral right and too weak to rule by force; if you refuse to fight the enemy's soldiers, and only fight their civilians, you are a loser.
So it's no surprise that, whether or not the Goldstone report's witnesses are telling the truth, we know from (again) first hand reports from the only neutral reporter who was on the ground in Gaza during Israel's last military incursion that Hamas bragged openly to her about their use of human shields, about only firing on Israeli soldiers once from any given position, and making sure that all of those positions were places where Gaza civilians, ideally women and children, were trying to hide from the war, and then running away before the Israelis could return fire. One of them bragged of having done so, in front of a reporter, while getting his own minor wound stitched, to a bereaved man who'd just lost his wife and kids to Israeli counter-battery fire, telling him he should be glad that his family were all "Islamic martyrs" now. Not, of course, that the weakling who was in there using his gun to make sure that the doctors and nurses stopped caring for the dying in order to stitch up his tiny little cut first had any intention of becoming a martyr himself, no. He was, like everybody in Hamas, a coward.
Just like Israel, under Netenyahu, has turned into a nation of losers and cowards who only fight unarmed civilians.
The attack on the Freedom Flotilla, even more than the Gaza incursion and the farce that was their last attempt to dislodge Hizbollah from south Lebanon, shows us a number of things about this second generation of Israeli Zionists, and none of them flattering. The only time Israel brings armed men and deadly force to a confrontation is when they know for a fact that their opponents are unarmed. And among the things that they're willing to fight and kill for is to prevent food, medicine, water purifiers, and home repair tools from reaching not Hamas (who can get all of those things that they want from Syria) but from the voters who voted for Hamas. Israel isn't willing to to go to war with Syria, no matter how many terrorists inside Israel are equipped and funded by Syria, that would be too hard and some Israelis might get hurt. Israel isn't willing to actually declare war on Lebanon, even with Hizbollah, a party dedicated to the extermination of every Jew in the world, in the ruling coalition there and actively engaged in military attacks on Israel. Going to war against Lebanon would be too hard, and some Israelis might get hurt.
No, Israel finds it much safer, and much more satisfying, to wage war against and freely kill unarmed Turkish pacifists and half-starved, increasingly homeless Gaza civilians. Which shows the world what this generation of Israeli government officials and Israeli military leaders really are: cowards, and losers.
(And I am deeply ashamed that the Obama administration, of whom I would have hoped for better, is the only government in the entire world that is taking Israel's side in this. Obama's ambassador to the UN blamed the Gazans and the pacifists for "provoking" Israel to massacre them, and threatened to veto any UN Security Council resolution that even authorized anybody except the Netenyahu government to investigate Israel's crimes. I haven't been this ashamed of my country since 2003.)