As Gilad Shalit begins his sixth year in captivity, media attention already has shifted from his plight to the next flotilla heading for Gaza, and a new chapter in provocation against Israel.

The fact that the kidnapped Israeli soldier has been held without Red Cross contact or even an indication that he is alive is an outrage in defiance of international law and human decency. But we have come to expect no more from Hamas, the terror group that decides Shalit’s fate and continues to abide by a charter calling for the death of all Jews, even as it seeks recognition as a legitimate partner in charting the course of Palestinian statehood.

Where is the international indignation against Hamas for holding Shalit captive while it insists that Israel release more than 1,000 jailed terrorists, including those with blood on their hands, so that they may return to their murderous task?

The spineless UN remains silent as the focus turns to the next assault on Israel’s legitimacy, in the form of an international flotilla due to set out soon to break the maritime blockade of Gaza. One of the 10 ships is aptly named “Audacity Of Hope.” The intended reference may be to the Barack Obama bestseller, but it best describes the full-throttled chutzpah of those who claim to seek peace and call attention to the plight of Gazans by bringing humanitarian aid, when in fact their purpose is to provoke Israel, and perhaps attack its soldiers. (Reports from Israel this week said there was a plan discussed by flotilla activists to pour sulfur on Israelis who board the ships and then set them ablaze.)

Why are there no humanitarian aid flotillas launched toward Syria or Libya, where innocent citizens, bravely calling for democracy, are being murdered by their own leaders?

The Jerusalem government is faced with preventing arms from being smuggled by sea into Gaza while seeking to avoid an international incident that results in violence. A year ago, a Turkish-based flotilla surprise attack on Israeli Navy commandos resulted in the death of nine involved in the assault. We hope the IDF is better prepared this time.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has made clear that while Israel will do all it can to avoid bloodshed, it will do what it must to enforce the law and protect its soldiers. The U.S. has backed Israel up, calling the flotilla effort “irresponsible.”

Some would-be participants in the flotilla, persuaded by Israeli officials that humanitarian aid can be, and is, delivered in other ways, have dropped out of the planned trip. All the more reason to question the motives of those who remain involved.

As we mark Independence Day in America this weekend, we urge our readers to pause and reflect on the blessings of freedom too often taken for granted, recalling Gilad Shalit, alone in his private hell, and those setting sail for the Mediterranean Sea, intent on confronting the region’s only democracy.

May Shalit soon taste freedom, and may the flotilla activists be thwarted.