Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Reflections on the Gaza Flotilla

Navy Commandos: "Ship Activists Came for War" -Yaakov Katz

After several hours of radio communications and warnings that the Mavi Marmara would be boarded if the captain did not change his ship's course, Navy Commander Vice-Admiral Eliezer Marom gave the order to board the ship.

"As the 15 of us slid down the ropes, 30 of them were waiting for us on the deck," one of the commandos later said. "They charged us and threw a few of the soldiers off the deck to the floor below."

The soldiers "engaged in hand-to-hand combat, sustained injuries, but only opened fire after one of them was lying on the ground unconscious and two others had been shot.
This was an unbelievable demonstration of restraint," said one police source.
[Jerusalem Post]

The Seizure of the Gaza Flotilla

The attack on the Israeli soldiers was premeditated. The weapons used had been prepared in advance.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israel Says Free Gaza Movement Poses Threat -Scott Wilson

Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, said there was a "qualitative change" to this Gaza aid mission compared with earlier ones that Israel's navy had let pass.

He said the group on the Mavi Marmara vessel was "a front for a radical Islamist organization, probably with links to the ruling party in Turkey."
(Washington Post)

Special Report: A Brutal Ambush at Sea -Ron Ben-Yishai

A few minutes before the takeover attempt aboard the Mari Marmara got underway, the operation commander was told that 20 people were waiting on the deck where a helicopter was to deploy the first team of Navy commandos. Officials estimated that passengers will show slight resistance, and possibly minor violence.

The first rope that soldiers used in order to descend down to the ship was wrested away by activists, most of them Turks. Navy commandos slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, knives and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked.

[T]o their misfortune, [IDF soldiers] were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests. One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The Navy commandos were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs.

It appears that the error in planning the operation was the estimate that the passengers were indeed political activists who seek a political provocation but would not resort to brutal violence.
(Ynet News)

UN Security Council Calls for Investigation of Israeli Flotilla Raid -Edith M. Lederer

Organizers of the flotilla said they would be sending two more ships to challenge the Gaza blockade within the next few days.

U.S. on Israel: "We're the Only Ones Who Believe Them" -Ben Smith

The White House avoided any hint of criticism of the Israeli action in its public statements, and American officials appeared sympathetic to Israeli explanations that their soldiers were attacked by flotilla participants.

The Maritime Blockade of Gaza - Legal Background

Maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognized measure under international law. A state may take action to enforce a blockade. Any vessel that violates or attempts to violate a maritime blockade may be captured or even attacked under international law. The U.S. Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations sets forth that a vessel is considered to be in attempt to breach a blockade from the time the vessel leaves its port with the intention of evading the blockade.

Israel exercised its right under international law to enforce the blockade.
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

How Is Israel Supposed to Stop Hamas from Re-arming? -Editorial

Israel is once again at the receiving end of broad international condemnation after its naval commandos boarded a flotilla of ships headed for Gaza. Before this chorus of indignation grows louder, it might be worth asking whether Israel had any other choice except to act as it did. The flotilla was organized by a radical Turkish group with close ties to Hamas, the terrorist group that illegally seized power in Gaza in 2007. Since then, both Israel and Egypt have imposed a partial blockade, mainly to prevent Hamas from arming itself with the kinds of weapons it used to spark a war with Israel in December 2008. Food, medicine and electricity continue to flow to Gaza.

The Gaza war also elicited international protests against Israel, which time and again is told what it can do in its own self-defense, with its critics deeming nearly every effective military action "disproportionate."
(Wall Street Journal)

The Flotilla Fiasco -Editorial

We have no sympathy for the motives of the participants in the flotilla.

What's plain is that the group's nominal purpose, delivering "humanitarian" supplies to Gaza, was secondary to the aim of provoking a confrontation.

The White House has been properly cautious so far in responding to the incident; it should be careful to distinguish itself in the coming days from the anti-Israeli chorus. U.S. diplomacy should aim at ensuring that the inevitable calls for an international investigation do not lead to another one-sided setup like the UN's Goldstone commission, whose report on Israel's 2008 invasion of Gaza has become another weapon in the international campaign to de-legitimize the Jewish state.
(Washington Post)

Another Rush to Judgment -Alan Dershowitz

Let there be no mistake about the goal of the flotilla. It was not to provide aid to Gaza. The leaders of the flotilla rejected an Israeli offer to send the food and medical supplies to Gaza through the Israeli port of Ashdod. They wanted a military confrontation with casualties.

When Israeli marines were attacked by lethal weapons, they had the absolute right to defend themselves and protect their fellow soldiers.
(Jerusalem Post)

Another Baseless Accusation of an Israeli "Massacre" -Jonathan Kay

If Israel truly had wanted to "massacre" the Hamas sympathizers and fellow travelers aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla, the operation would not have been complicated. The Israel Defense Forces would have used the trusty North Korean solution: Torpedo the ships and watch them sink to the bottom of the sea.

But that's not how Israel operates. Israeli officials even prepared air-conditioned accommodations for the activists, and made arrangements to deliver legitimate aid supplies to Gaza. Every drop of blood spilled on Monday rests on the hands of those activists who initiated the deadly exchange. When you attack Israeli soldiers - or any soldiers - with lethal force, they will respond in kind.

For most of the world, of course, these facts won't matter. This episode will be used as just another stick to beat the Jewish state - even by those same pundits and activists who can't be roused to say a single word when genuine "massacres" unfold in other parts of the world.
(National Post-Canada)

Peace Convoy? This Was an Islamist Terror Ambush -Melanie Phillips

It is becoming ever more clear that Islamist terror attacks like this are fiendishly staged theatrical events in which the Western media - and beyond them, Western governments - play an absolutely essential role in the drama. If those media and governments refused to swallow the lies and instead called operations like this and the players behind it for what they actually are, such terrorist operations would not happen.

The Islamist strategy of war against Israel is carefully calibrated to deploy the most effective weapon in its armory in the cause of jihadi violence - the Western media. Right on cue, Western governments accordingly deliver their own script in condemning the victims of terror for defending themselves.

And so, courtesy of the West's fifth columnists, yet another nail is driven into the West's own coffin.

Israel to UN: Flotilla Participants Not Peace Activists -Yitzhak Benhorin

The deputy head of Israel's mission to the United Nations, Dan Carmon, told the UN Security Council:

"What kind of humanitarian activists demand to bypass the UN, the Red Cross, and other internationally recognized agencies? What kind of peace activists use knives, clubs and other weapons to attack soldiers who board a ship in accordance with international law? What kind of humanitarian activists, some with known terrorist history, embrace Hamas, a terrorist organization that openly shuns a two-state solution and calls for Israel destruction, defying conditions set by the international community and the Quartet?

The answer is clear: they are not peace activists; they are not messengers of good will. They cynically use a humanitarian platform to send a message of hate and to implement violence."
[Ynet News]

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