I do not intend to deal any further with the question of whether the victims of Israel's attack were genuine "humanitarians", since all the evidence indicates 100% that they were not. But regarding the question of whether Israel's actions were undertaken in line with international law (the mainstream media axiomatically assumes that they were not), I will simply provide some relevant extracts from a couple of different sources, and invite readers to make up their own minds.
First of all, from a brief Q & A published by Reuters (hardly a renowned source of pro-Israeli activism):
CAN ISRAEL IMPOSE A NAVAL BLOCKADE ON GAZA?
Yes it can, according to the law of blockade which was derived from customary international law and codified in the 1909 Declaration of London. It was updated in 1994 in a legally recognised document called the "San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea". Under some of the key rules, a blockade must be declared and notified to all belligerents and neutral states, access to neutral ports cannot be blocked, and an area can only be blockaded which is under enemy control.
"On the basis that Hamas is the ruling entity of Gaza and Israel is in the midst of an armed struggle against that ruling entity, the blockade is legal," said Philip Roche, partner in the shipping disputes and risk management team with law firm Norton Rose....
WHAT ARE INTERNATIONAL WATERS?....
Under the law of a blockade, intercepting a vessel could apply globally [i.e. even in "international waters] so long as a ship is bound for a "belligerent" territory, legal experts say.
CAN ISRAEL USE FORCE WHEN INTERCEPTING SHIPS?
Under international law it can use force when boarding a ship.
"If force is disproportionate it would be a violation of the key tenets of the use of force," said Commander James Kraska, professor of international law at the U.S. Naval War College.
Israeli authorities said marines who boarded the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara opened fire in self-defence after activists clubbed and stabbed them and snatched some of their weapons.
Legal experts say proportional force does not mean that guns cannot be used by forces when being attacked with knives.
"But there has got to be a relationship between the threat and response," Kraska said.
The use of force may also have other repercussions.
"While the full facts need to emerge from a credible and transparent investigation, from what is known now, it appears that Israel acted within its legal rights," said J. Peter Pham, a strategic adviser to U.S. and European governments.
"However, not every operation that the law permits is necessarily prudent from the strategic point of view."
OPPONENTS HAVE CALLED ISRAEL'S RAID "PIRACY". WAS IT?
No, as under international law it was considered a state action.
"Whether what Israel did is right or wrong, it is not an act of piracy. Piracy deals with private conduct particularly with a pecuniary or financial interest," Kraska said.
And additionally, these relevant articles from the 1994 San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, mentioned above:
SECTION V : NEUTRAL MERCHANT VESSELS AND CIVIL AIRCRAFT
Neutral merchant vessels
67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:
(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy