02 June 2010

The Gaza flotilla clash

While reports about exactly what happened are still conflicting, and it will be some time yet before all the facts are in and a fair judgment about the incident can be reached, the reaction has been predictable: Israel has been quickly and vehemently condemned by those who always condemn Israel no matter what it does.

When all the facts are in, it may turn out that Israel was indeed entirely in the wrong in this case, though I think that's unlikely. There is no government, no matter how moral, which does not sometimes commit stupid or even criminal acts, and there has been some strong criticism from the Israeli media. But even if that turns out to be the case with this incident, it will not change the overall reality of the situation. Israel remains the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, the only society with basic values similar to ours, the only place in the region where people like atheists, gays, or women can have anything approaching a normal life. As such, it deserves the unstinting support of other liberal democracies, as President Obama and Congressional Democrats appear to understand.

Even where this specific clash is concerned, the narrative of peaceful aid workers suffering unprovoked attack does not hold up. The flotilla was out to run a well-publicized blockade in a war zone. Anywhere in the world, such an attempt would inevitably have been met with whatever level of force was necessary to stop it, including deadly force, if the would-be blockade runners decided to fight. The whole thing has very much the smell of a deliberate effort to provoke a violent incident for propaganda purposes; more on that from Shmuel Rosner and Green Eagle. Tom Gross has some worthwhile links.

Finally, given the character and track record of Israel's theocratic, medieval-minded enemies (Hamas, Hizbullah, the Iranian regime, etc.), I'm inclined to give Israel very broad benefit of the doubt concerning what it considers necessary to protect itself.

Those who always condemn Israel while ignoring the moral outrages which are routine in Islamic countries are, once again, condemning Israel. But even if it turns out that Israel did do wrong in this case, they will be right only in the same sense as the proverbial stopped clock which is right twice a day.

Update 1: Read this too.

Update 2 (3 June): Netanyahu explains: "If the blockade had been broken, hundreds of ships would have followed, with a scale of smuggling far greater than that possible in the tunnels. Two ships stopped in the last years -Francop and Karine-A - had hundreds of tons of weapons. It is our duty to examine any ship going to Gaza - If we don't do this, the result would be an Iranian port in Gaza, only a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv, which would also threaten other countries in the region. We offered to take the cargo to Ashdod and examine it, an offer which Egypt seconded. The flotilla leaders rejected this."


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Good Afternoon Mr.Infidel!

First of all .... damn good posting brother! Alot better than the horseshit I been reading and hearing in the pop media's. Many folk's should understand as well .... that the Palestinian's (and even other's) invite in these group's to play active role's in the government's like Hamas or other's. And this is widespread, just like when I was saying about our work in Afghanistan end's up after our feet are in the door, many folk's saying they want certain Taliban in their government, I know ... their "moderate's", heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, that's about as silly as telling me the "Neo Nazi Party" of 2010 are moderate's. I was bitching a decade ago when Pakistani's let fundaislamist's take over their bankrupt school systen as well, why? because the SOB's got a nuclear arsenal ... yet pop culture tele show's show these idiot's teaching kid's and thinking of the peasant kid's etc, and we all (most)lap it up like a starving dog. Maybe Israel was the bad guy's, it take's two to Tango, and everybody feed's the flame's .... I dont give a shit, I know people from there that told me one on one what a day is like living and doing daily duties in a place like Israel, there's tension, and it goes back and forth, these folk's dont want to hold hand's like us and sing "We are the World" .... nor live in a reality like our's. I'll just shut the Hell up now, dont want to offend sensitive ear's here, I think as much as I have voiced on this in the past, you know where I stand on this. Beside's ... I never seen a conflict or war without casualties or mishap's.

Later Guy .........

02 June, 2010 10:23  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

If I may add .... I understand some may say, that this particular case may have nothing to do with what I said ... but I am pointing out the overall view of the condition in this region which result's in these type of move's and action's ... it's a mindset and a reality.

02 June, 2010 10:35  
Blogger TomCat said...

Infidel, I'm not one to condemn Israel without cause, and were Israel to be attacked by Iran, for example, I would fully support US intervention in Israel's defense.

However, in this case, to forcefully board a ship in international waters is an act of piracy as defined by both US and International law.

Had Israel attempted to inspect the ship for weapons in her own territorial waters, and allowed the relief supplies to land, I would support that. But the blockade itself is a violation of the Helsinki Accords.

In my opinion, Israel's motive is to renege on that treaty to avoid a two state solution.

02 June, 2010 12:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Israel offered to let the flotilla offload its cargo in Ashdod for transit to Gaza. The flotilla refused and re-affirmed its intent to land in Gaza, violating the blockade -- because this was never about delivering supplies, it was about provoking an incident. That being the case, it was to be expected that the Israelis would use force to stop them, whether they had reached Israeli territorial waters yet or not.

Navies stop hostile ships outside their own territorial waters for all kinds of reasons. If the US Navy intercepted a foreign ship on the high seas after that ship had declared its intent to land illegally in the US, no one would be talking about "piracy". Only Israel is constantly held to a different standard.

As for the larger problem, a two-state solution is already in effect since Jordan constitutes three-quarters of the original Palestine mandate. A second Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza is both unjustifiable and impossible.

02 June, 2010 13:22  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC: That's pretty much the point I was making earlier -- a struggle against medieval fanatics who want to destroy you cannot be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order. This isn't some kind of genteel game.

02 June, 2010 13:30  
Blogger JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Whoa Baby! For a while I thought I was the only Lib who believed in Israel's right to defend herself. I was steering kind of clear cause I didn't want any discord.

Not that Israel is right or wrong in this case. Need to see more info. It does appear so far Israel was within it's rights and it's Navy showed sound judgement. To go further, like it or not, it was US that legalized preventative strike.

02 June, 2010 14:26  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Exactly -- the facts aren't yet clear enough to justify the pile-on of condemnation we're seeing. And we're not the only ones -- see posts at Green Eagle and the Swash Zone, linked in mine. I think there are a lot of liberals who get this.

02 June, 2010 14:57  
Blogger B.J. said...

And, there are a lot of liberals who are wiling to wait and see, to weigh every aspect of the situation and who are afraid to open their mouths for fear of being labeled anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, pro-Islam and so forth.

I disagree that to condemn Israel in one incident means blanket condemnation of Israel in everything. To judge Israel in one incident does not make a person amy move anti-Israel than opposing the eight years of George W. Bush made a person anti-American. (And, I don’t think that’s apples and oranges.)

For altogether unrelated reasons I’ve been reading about the massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and the rescue raid on Entebbe in 1976 – both travesties the work of radical Palestinians. So, I get it. I know there is enough bitterness, hurt and revenge to last a lifetime.

I know there are clashes back and forth – always have been, always will be. But, my moral compass tells me that a dead Palestinian child or a deal Israeli child is still a dead child.

I am always interested in your opinion, Infidel, and those of commenters. It helps in the weighing.


02 June, 2010 18:33  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I understand Mr. TomCat' arguement, as a matter of fact .... this is the arguement that many are ranting about, everybody has to take action when necessary, these thug's know how to "play" the "rule's game", and well, just like terrorist's know to set up shop in hospital's, school's and women's shelter's, no different .... these kind's of action's have been around and practiced for long, just like us during the Cuban missile crisis in so called "international water's". But I disagree .... and sure as hell dont look at it as "pirating", I see it as being on the ball, and proactive. I do agree with Mr. Infidel that this was about "provoking an incident" ( what I call selling "woof ticket's" ) .... pushing. No .... I dont know all the fact's or who started talking about who's Mama first .... but I still have great vision/ eyesight .... and when I see these so called "humanitarian" thug's beating Israeli's with pipe's in a mob like style, and throwing them overboard .... I take that as well into consideration .... act like that with me ... I will retaliate as well. People die? People die every f'n day .... tough shit!

Thank You, Ya'll .... and may peace and love be with you ......

03 June, 2010 00:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

BJ, my entire post here is advocating waiting until all the facts are available, as opposed to the reflexive, knee-jerk condemnation of Israel I'm seeing on so much of the left.

Aside from that, I'm not sure what you're referring to. Nowhere here do I say that condemning Israel in one isolated case means a person is anti-Israeli. What I repeatedly refer to is people who have an established track record of always condemning Israel no matter what it does -- and you know damn well there are a lot of people like that. Such people gain no honor by once again condemning Israel here, even if it turns out that Israel was actually in the wrong in this one case. That's my point.

I didn't accuse anyone of being anti-Semitic on this post, but when people go out of their way to criticize the Jewish state at every opportunity while barely taking an interest when much worse things are done by non-Jewish states, frankly one is entitled to a certain suspicion.

In view of the actual history, to imply that there is anything like an equal amount of evil on both sides in the overall conflict is obscene.

03 June, 2010 03:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC: At least some of these people came clearly looking for a fight. Like the hijackers in the Entebbe incident in 1976, they picked that fight with the wrong people.

03 June, 2010 03:54  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I must say you got me to laughing this morning Mr.Infidel when you commented last about what you called the "reflexive knee jerk condemnation of Israel" .... Boy! that's got to be the quote of the week! :)

Let me tell ya somethin man .... I see alot of folk's that will criticize those like Israel, and support those who demonstrate in our American cities that are pro- terror group's, who label these f'n thug's as if they were saviour's of some sort. Dont get me wrong, I support anyone who defend's their country, and oppose strongly our constant nosing and occupation in some of these middle eastern region's .... but dont bring that shit to our street's, and tell us your not going to remove your veil or some crap for your driver's liscense photo, or the list of other crap, first place they ought to be grateful of our open f'n immigration policy to be able to stay here to begin with, some of these women wouldnt even be able to drive back in their country without being locked up .... an immigration policy that I would personally tighten up in a New York minute and put a goddamn neon sign around the neck of Liberty in New York Harbour that say's "Sorry no Vacancies". These pansies support these folk's unlike the Jew's or Christian's because Jew's and Christian's wont come to kill them ....some of these jihad mentality folk's would cut your dick off and shove it up your ass then behead you and televise it. F'n frail pansy chicken shit's! How can you maintain your liberties and being able to be liberal, when you just let people walk all over you?

I'll shut the fuck up now, thank you Sir ......

03 June, 2010 05:15  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I've always been an advocate of "liberalism prepared to fight". We didn't get our own civilization out of the Dark Ages by pandering to those who wanted to keep it there, and we won't get the Middle East out of the Dark Ages that way either.

03 June, 2010 05:31  
Blogger magpie said...

Newspaper report (quoting the Guardian):

"Autopsy results on the bodies of those killed during the assault on the Gaza aid flotilla reveal they were peppered with 9 millimetre bullets, many fired at close range and into victims' backs.

Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish Council of Forensic Medicine.

The results, carried out for the Turkish Ministry of Justice, have put further pressure on Israel to allow an independent inquiry into the raid."

I'm interested to know if this is accurate. I'm not at all cool with what's happened if it does turn out to be true.

I'd also appreciate it... a whole bunch... if the Israelis would kindly not steal the identities of real and unconnected people of other countries - whom they call 'friend' to their face - to carry out their assassinations.

05 June, 2010 22:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The people on that flotilla were trying to run a military blockade in a war zone. They were trying to provoke a violent incident for propaganda purposes, for the benefit of the neo-Nazi jihadist movement. They violently attacked the Israeli military when they were boarded. Everything that happened to them was the entirely predictable consequence of their own actions. I have no sympathy at all.

06 June, 2010 03:05  
Blogger magpie said...

It's not about sympathy. It's about legalities.
It was international waters, not downtown Tel Aviv.

It's also about truth.
People were allegedly shot multiple times in the back. I want to know if that is true or not.
If it is... then only the utterly prejudiced would be unconcerned. If it isn't, I want to know if we are being lied to.

And the next time the Israelis decided to fry someone in Dubai, maybe they'll just as casually put Americans in danger by stealing THEIR identities as they did completely unconnected Britons, French, Irish, Germans and - ahem - Australians... but I doubt it.
After all... it's not as if the only blood they care about is their own, is it?

06 June, 2010 04:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The subject of this post is the Gaza flotilla incident. Comments about the Dubai incident are off-topic.

Blockades are routinely enforced in international waters in wartime. Screw the legalities. For all the Israelis could tell, the ship might have been carrying weapons to Gaza, which has been used as a base for rocket attacks against Israel before. The Israelis were justified in doing whatever they had to do to stop it. A war is not some kind of genteel game.

Again, the people on that ship were deliberately trying to run a blockade in order to provoke a response for propaganda purposes. They deserved whatever they got.

As I said in the posting, I don't claim the Israelis are 100% in the right in every incident, but they are an island of secular civilization in a sea of religious barbarism and they are entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

I am very suspicious of people who obsessively pick over and condemn every thing Israel does that could be criticized, while ignoring the much worse human-rights violations of Islamic states. And your last sentence certainly sounds like a standard anti-Semitic slur.

06 June, 2010 06:46  
Blogger magpie said...

If you take my meaning properly you will understand that I was in fact repudiating the attitude that Israel cares only about their own, not expressing it.

I'm pro-Israel.
Don't call me anti-Semitic.That's not a difference of opinion, that's a slur.

"the people on that ship were deliberately trying to run a blockade in order to provoke a response for propaganda purposes. They deserved whatever they got."
I see... so they wanted to be shot? And they deserved death? A very absolute view of things, to say the least.

Be suspicious as you like. I'm suspicious about multiple shots from behind at close range on people who were not armed with military weapons.

The raid was not a wartime act. Calling it that does Israel no favors. This has been immensely damaging to its cause.

"For all the Israelis could tell, the ship might have been carrying weapons to Gaza, which has been used as a base for rocket attacks against Israel before."

Yes... but it wasn't. And they didn't neceed to execute anyone to find that out any more than Iraq needed to be invaded to find no WMDs.

"Screw the legalities"...? To hell with international law.. just like that...

06 June, 2010 08:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

This is a blog, not a forum for interminable back-and-forth arguments. There will not be any further comments in this exchange.

"After all... it's not as if the only blood they care about is their own, is it?" would be taken by any honest reader as being anti-Semitic, despite the sentence being phrased in the negative -- especially in the context of the overall comment.

You can nit-pick about details forever, but the fact remains that anyone who tries to run a military blockade for propaganda purposes, then violently attacks soldiers who are trying to enforce it, have only themselves to blame if they get worse than they expect. They brought this on themselves. If it had been any other country than Israel enforcing such a blockade, nobody would even be arguing about this.

08 June, 2010 15:57  

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