Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Greeted As Liberators

I use the above loose analogy, only to highlight what amounts to a massive miscalculation on the Israelis part. There is a certain base level sensibility, wherein if one storms a philosophically, diametrically opposed entity, the chances for conflict are extremely high, in fact likely. The real issue isn't that Israeli soldiers opened fire, as flippant as that sounds, but more rightly, that Israeli soldiers were put in this situation in the first place. After viewing all the unedited video, it's pretty obvious that complete bedlam brought about deadly force, immediate blame hard to decipher. There is a justifable self defence aspect, which is beyond obvious, given the mayhem. However, that result is almost an afterthought, because surely some consideration should have been given for just this outcome.

I was actually following the flotilla progress the last few days. In fairness, the Israelis did offer to take the humanitarian aid and deliver it to Gaza, as they've done in the past with other deliveries. This compromise was rejected, because part of the motivation for this flotilla was to break the blockade, not just deliver aid. There was a certain provocative aspect to this flotilla, of that there is no question. It is also true, that Israel has genuine concerns about scraping the blockade for fear of arms shipments, weapons which would ultimately threaten Israel.

While there exists justifable rationale, where the Israelis failed was in their own rigidity. The blockade of Gaza is untenable, given the labryinth of tunnels which exist, the massive underground economy, stopping ships from entering was always a flawed bandaid that could never accomplish Israel's goals. Despite the problems with Hamas at the helm in Gaza, the blockade changed the focus to another example of Israeli repression, ordinary Palestinians suffer once again. The Israelis have to realize that whatever moral right they have to protect themselves is effectively lost, once they stifle the livelihood of people, who have no stake in Hamas, and what they represent.

In some respects, yesterday was inevitable- Israel holding firm, the blockade remains vs a determined activist group that was bent on challenge. When you step back, a peaceful resolution was highly unlikely. It is here that the Israelis made grave errors, you can't drop from the sky onto your adversary, in the dead of the night, and expect to be "greeted as liberators". It simply doesn't work that way, the crime is really a failure in basic logic.

7 comments:

CanNurse said...

Steve, you forgot to mention that when Israel has said they would deliver aid, it has not delivered the said aid supplies to the people of Gaza. In addition, this act by Israel was legally an act of piracy because it took place in international waters.

Steve V said...

"it has not delivered the said aid supplies to the people of Gaza."

Umm, so who was it delivered to? And, if it didn't make it to the people, then that's on Hamas isn't it???

Tof KW said...

CanNurse said...
"...this act by Israel was legally an act of piracy because it took place in international waters."

I understand your point, but by law this act would not be classified as piracy. Piracy is committed by private parties. When this type of act is state-sponsored and carried out by a war ship of said state (as this event clearly is) then it more closely resembles a privateer ship. Unlike piracy these are legitimate under law (especially when enforcing a blockade) however they are also normally considered an act of war by the state who's ship was raided.

Even at that Israel can refute this charge since no cargo was actually confiscated; provided they actually do distribute the aid to the Palestinians that is.

Tomm said...

You may have hit the nail squarely on the head. Great analysis.

The Rat said...

The law as it stands, not as posters would like it to be:

12 June 1994
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”


Seems Israel was following the law to the letter, actually.

As for the analysis posted originally, it is a reasonable and I can agree with it to a point. I don't know that smuggling through tunnels is equivalent to free and unfettered shipping into Gaza and for that reason I suggest the blockade does prevent further escalation of violence should Hamas get more and bigger weapons.

Lenny said...

"Umm, so who was it delivered to?"

Who knows. Knesset members?
The claim that Israel is only concerned with preventing weapons entering Gaza, and would deliver the goods themselves, is pure bullshit - that's why the "compromise" was rejected.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8654337.stm

Rat,
A blockade to punish a civilian population is not lawful, and therefore neither is commandeering a vessel in international waters in the name of that blockade.

Fred from BC said...

CanNurse said...

Steve, you forgot to mention that when Israel has said they would deliver aid, it has not delivered the said aid supplies to the people of Gaza.

Only because the aid was REFUSED BY HAMAS. That's right...they wouldn't allow it into Gaza unless all the 'protesters' were released as well.

(not that they needed it anyway; it's roughly the same amount they get from Israel every week regardless)


In addition, this act by Israel was legally an act of piracy because it took place in international waters.

No. International Law (the San Remo Manual, to name just one) states that it is quite legal, sorry. The only thing that would have been illegal, given the stated intention of the protesters to violate the blockade, was if the interdiction had taken place in the territorial waters of a third party (like Turkey).

That said, what *should* the Israelis have done?

(and please don't say "let the ships break the blockade"; that's not going to happen as long as Hamas continues to fire rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, and everyone knows it)
m