Death at Sea | the attack on the Gaza flotilla (live blogging)

Posted: May 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, war | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments »

2:50 AM: finally, going to sleep. I will post at least another media round up in the morning.

2:05 AM: the finger pointing begins. Ynet quotes [Hebrew] unnamed government ministers claiming the army guaranteed them that taking over the ships would end with no casualties. One senior cabinet minister said: “we didn’t understand how explosive this story is.”

Senior IDF official was quoted saying the all scenarios were presented to the cabinet before PM Netanyahu left for north America. “the responsibility lies with the political level.”

0:30 AM: MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad) who was on board the Mavi Marmara, is interrogated at the Ashdod police station. Sheikh Raed Saleh is also interrogated.

Earlier this evening, some 500 people demonstrated in front of the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv, protesting the Turkish involvement in organizing the flotilla and Ankara’s recent hostility towards Israel. the demonstration received extensive coverage in the Israeli media.

11:42 PM: Weapons found by IDF on Mavi Marmara: knifes and sticks (IDF spokesperson picture here).

11:05 PM: It seems that the government and the army got their message through, at least here in Israel. The last two graphic videos released clearly showed the soldiers being attacked, and are going to have an enormous effect on the Jewish public, as such images always do.

These images will be used by Israel in its PR counter attack in the US and Europe, and might have some effect there as well, though people will surly wonder what reaction the army expected when he sent commando unit on a civilian ship in international water.

As the last passengers of the Mavi Marmara leave the ship, the day’s drama comes to an end, but the diplomatic and political game only begins. There are reports of another ship – the Rachel Corrie, heading from Irland – on its way to Gaza; Israel haven’t released the names and nationality of the passengers killed in the attack; the Security Council is meeting. Questions might be raised even in Israel, once the initial shock passes. More important, we have yet to hear testimonies – and we might even get some new pictures and videos – from the passengers of the Mavi Marmara, something that is bound to have an effect on public opinion, in Israel and outside.

I will follow events here in the next few days, focusing as always on the Israeli angle. I will also try to add some of my own analysis, something I didn’t find the time to do today.

10:18 PM: Dozens of Ultra-Orthodox demonstrated in Jerusalem in protest of the Israeli attack on the flotilla [link in Hebrew]. They carried signs reading  “Zionist ד= pirates”.

9:48 PM: Evening analysis round-up:

Dan Ephron (Newsweek): Israeli Attack highlights failure of Gaza blockade.

Jo Klein (Time): This is an insane use of disproportionate force. It is a product of the right-wing radicalization of the Israeli government.

Andrew Sullivan (Atlantic): The disproportionate use of force, the loss of life, the horrifying impact of the blockade of Gaza in the first place: it makes Israel look like a callous, deranged bully, incapable of accepting any narrative that it cannot control and responding instinctively with disproportionate violence.

Adrian Blomfield (Telegraph): Under the stewardship of Benjamin Netanyahu, its abrasive prime minister, Israel has developed an extraordinary knack for inopportune timing.

Gideon Rachman (financial Times): “three particular angles for the Israelis to worry about. First, that there will be some sort of new intifada. Second, the continued deterioration in their relationship with Turkey. Third, their fraying ties with the Obama administration” [I don't agree. there won't be Intifada over this. the major problem is Europe and world public opinion, not US].

Yossi Melman (Haaretz): the government acted in such a tragic and stupid way, it’s hard to even understand it [Hebrew].

9:40 PM final casualties report from IDF spokesperson: 9 civilians killed, 7 soldiers injured, out of which four soldiers were moderately wounded, and three lightly wounded. The number of injured civilians wasn’t reported.

9:10 PM: estimated 2,000 people at tel Aviv protest in front of defense department.

8:55 PM: 7th eye (Israeli media watchdog organization): Yedioth Ahronoth daily knew but wouldn’t publish vast IDF top brass opposition to the raid on the flotilla [Hebrew].

8:50 PM: IDF posted another very graphic video in which the activists are shown attacking the soldiers landing to the Mavi Marmara. Passengers’ video supposedly show IDF shooting on board Mavi Marmara even after the ship raised a white flag.

8:40 PM: The Maramra docked in Ashdod, and the passengers are being detained by Israeli authorities. So far, there were no violent clashes. According to reports in Israel, the activists will be deported soon.

In New York, the UN  security council began its discussion.

6:45 PM: The Mavi Marmara is about to enter the Israeli post of Ashdod, while some demonstrations take place in Israel: a few hundreds are protesting the attack on the flotilla in the Arab town Um El-Fahem. Small protests are scheduled for 7.00 in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There were also pro-IDF protests in Ashdod and in Haifa.

6:15 PM: Opinion and analysis round-up: there is a growing gap between what’s the talking heads are saying in Israel rigth now – focusing on the threat to the soldiers lifes and the insuffianct force that was sent to take control over the Mavi Marmara – to what’s going on in the world, where this is viewed as a brutal attack on civilians on international water, or as Moshe Yaroni puts it, Israel’s Kent State.

David Horvitz (Jerusalem Post’s editor): A race to contain the damage: The “humanitarian aid” flotilla was clearly a perniciously well-conceived initiative, for which Israel prepared inadequately.

Blake Hounshell (Foreign Policy): It’s not hard to imagine boycott campaigns gaining momentum, damaging the Israeli economy and isolating the country diplomatically, especially in Europe.

MJ Rosenberg (Huffington Post): Israel is in trouble. At the present rate, the remarkable accomplishment that is Israel will be lost because the right (i.e, Netanyahu, AIPAC, etc) prefers the settlements, smashing Gaza and building in Arab East Jerusalem to Israel itself.

Marc Lynch (Foreign Policy): It is difficult to fathom how the Israeli government could have thought that this was a good way to respond to a long-developing public relations challenge, but its actions will certainly fuel its evolving international legitimacy crisis.

Avi Trengo (Ynet): When Israel conveys a sense of weakness is it any wonder that a mob would charge at a commando and attempt to lynch him?

Richard Spencer (Telegraph): Whether on land or now at sea, there is a terrible symmetry to Israel’s engagement with the Palestinians and those who support them.

Rafi mann (Seventh Eye): The Palestinian Exodus [Hebrew].

5.00 PM: IDF completed search of Mavi Marmara, no weapons discovered except for the two pistols that were taken from the soldiers (channel 10).

4:57 PM: IDF spokesperson: 9 activists killed on Mavi Marmara, 7 soldiers injured. Ynet: 31 activist injured.

4:55 PM: It’s Official: PM Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his trip to Washington and will not meet president Obama, but rather return home to handle the crisis. It was speculated that part of the reason is the will to avoid the scheduled press conference with the president, in which the President will be forced to condemn the attack in the presence of the Israeli PM.

4:35 PM: IDF releases video and report of the events:

4:15 PM: CRIF, the representative council of the organized Jewish community in France, declared the events “not good news for peace,” and expressed its regret on the death of civilians.

4:00 PM: Israeli media framing the incident as one in which the soldiers were the victims of an organized, surprise attack (the fact that it was the IDF soldiers who boarded the ships on international waters is hardly mentioned). There are more and more descriptions on channel 1 and 2 of the knifes and bats that were used against the soldiers.

The IDF just started releasing videos of the demonstrators rushing to the soldiers as they board the ship. According to most pundits, the mistake the IDF did was not applying enough force, and boarding the ship with a small force, not fully armed.

This is Ron Ben-Yishay, Ynet’s military correspondent, that was on one of the Israeli navi ships:

Our Navy commandoes fell right into the hands of the Gaza mission members. A few minutes before the takeover attempt aboard the 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 the elite Flotilla 13 unit. The original plan was to disembark on the top deck, and from there rush to the vessel’s bridge and order the Marmara’s captain to stop.

(…)

Navy commandoes 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, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.

However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.

3:10 PM: Two of the smaller ships arrived at the Ashdod post. The Marmara, – the main ship on which the fight occurred – is not expected to arrive before 7PM. Israeli press speculates on possible danger to soldiers and Israeli civilians from the protesters on the ships. Riot police and anti terror units are on their way to Ashdod. Early reports claim that 16 protesters were arrested.

3:00 PM: Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Channel 10:

“As time passes, it becomes clear we found weapons in the ships. The events move now to the diplomatic front. All our messages were passed to the Foreign Media.

“Regarding relation with Turkey: we did not initiate any confrontation; we hope there won’t be damage to relations. This wasn’t a peace flotilla, it wasn’t a humanitarian flotilla. IDF spokesmen will publish material that will prove that there were terrorist personal and arms on the ships. This is our message to the world.”

2:50 PM: Channel 10: soldiers boarded the main ship with paintball guns and were immediately in danger for their life. they had no choice but to move to live ammunition.

2:40 PM: Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Navi Commander Eliezer Marom held a press conference in which they gave the first Israeli official explanation to the day’s events. Barak declared that the flotilla organizers are to blame for the casualties.

“The soldiers were attacked after arriving at one of the ships. Some were injured by serious physical violence on the part of the protestors.

“In light of the life-threatening situation, the soldiers were forced to use crowd dispersal means and firearms,” said Barak, adding that some of the casualties were killed by firearms. According to Barak, 10 soldiers were injured in the incident, some from firearms and some from cold arms.

“The IHH organization, which was behind these unruly ship, is a violent and radical organization acting under the cover of humanitarian activity.”

2:30 PM: Israel Ch1 military reporter: Islamic leader Raed Salah “alive and well” – reports of him injured and in surgery are a case of mistaken id.

2:15 PM: commentary round up:

Bradley Burston (Haaretz): We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege, which is itself becoming Israel’s Vietnam.

Aluf Ben (Haaretz): Netanyahu should stop US trip, come home and form an official commission of inquiry. excuses that activists were armed won’t work [Hebrew].

Ian Black (Guardian): Israel’s bloody interception of the Gaza flotilla looks like a disastrous own goal… this was a gift to Israel’s worst enemies.

Amos Harel (Haaretz): If rumors are confirmed that Muslim leader Raed Salah is among casualties of Israel’s raid on a Gaza aid convoy, the country’s Arab population could explode.

Glenn Greenwald (Salon): If Israel’s goal were to provoke as much disgust and contempt as possible, how could it do a better job?

Shmuel Rosner (Jerusalem Post):  PR – as important as it might be – is not all in life (…) If force had to be used as to prevent the flotilla from going into Gaza – if there was no way around it – than PR becomes a secondary issue and will have to be dealt with later.

1:50 PM: CH 10 TV defense correspondent Alon Ben David at Ashdod: Rioting expected to continue at port. Some passengers still locked in cabins. Channel 10 site: Arabs from Haifa among casualties.

1:40 PM: Israeli Foreign Office warned Israelis from trips to Turkey. Those already here are advised to stay in hotels. Turkey canceled three planned military maneuvers with IDF. Greece also canceled its planned maneuver with Israeli air force.

1:30 PM: Turkish ambassador leaving for Ankara.

12:30: Deputiy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon accuses Flotilla organizers of having ties to Hamas and AL-Qaeda. Regarding the attack, the Foreign Ministry web site stated that:

According to reports from sea, on board the flotilla that was seeking to break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip, IDF forces apprehended two violent activists holding pistols. The violent activists took these pistols from IDF forces and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident by the empty pistol magazines.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, including live fire.

12:10: Leftwing protests scheduled for 6 Pm in Jerusalem; 7 Pm in Tel Aviv (in front of the Defense Ministry on Kaplan st.); 7 Pm in Haifa. Some protesters are on their way right now to Ashdod and Haifa ports, to which the flotilla boats are headed.

12:00 AM: Ynet: two soldiers badly injured during the attack on the ships. 7 civilians in Israeli hospitals.

11:40 AM: Haaretz: Raad Saleh injured, not dead, hospitalized in Tel Hashomer (Tel Aviv). UPDATE: ynet reports that according to army sources, Salah is on one of the boats, only slightly injured.

video: MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad) calling for help in English and Hebrew from the attacked ship.

Ynet: 15 died on Ships.

10:50 AM: We woke up to the news of the violent takeover of the flotilla by IDF soldiers, and to the rumors that Sheikh Raad Salah, the Israeli-Palestinian Muslim leader, is among the 10 casualties. Regardless of one’s political views and what comes out of this incident, these are horrible news. It seems that the government really blew it this time. Violence looks almost inevitable, and who knows what will follow.

After a few hours of silence, Army and government spokesmen started commenting on the affair, declaring that the people on the boats “tried to lynch the soldiers“. But the spins won’t work here. Even without knowing what really happened, so much is clear: when you keep more than a million under siege for years – even if you make sure they don’t starve to death, as Israelis constantly remind us they do – some people are bound to try and break this siege. And when they do, if you send the commando at them in the middle of the night – and on international water! – there will be consequences, and there might be casualties.

I will keep updating this post as news come.

This is an insane use of disproportionate force. It is a product of the right-wing radicalization of the Israeli government


29 Comments on “Death at Sea | the attack on the Gaza flotilla (live blogging)”

  1. 1 Michael LeFavour said at 3:21 am on May 31st, 2010:

    The spins won’t work here? You know nothing of what happened, yet you instantly rejected what is known for fact and reported when it makes your criminal friends look bad.

    The blockade is a legal blockade and the terrorist supporters trying to run it knew this well in advance. They care nothing about the people of Gaza, this was an assault on Israel. Nothing else, the so called aid was a prop for the publicity stunt.

    I am very pleased by the professional way Israeli commandos took control of the illegal boats.

  2. 2 PlowsharesCathy said at 7:12 am on May 31st, 2010:

    The problem with Israel’s supporters is that for 63 years they have been repeating lies, even after they were were exposed as lies. That worked well for Israel for 62 years, but this is year 63. You’re not fooling the rest of the world, and that only makes your self deception all the more dangerous and disfuntional. The aid volunteers aboard the relief flotilla were not armed. The first sentence of the above blog says that. Moreover, the seige is not legal; it is an act of war and a violation of International Law.
    People are not only noticing how often Israel’s supporters lie, they are questioning Abraham’s credibility. Abraham pimped his wife in Egypt, raped his wife’s slave, and attempted to kill two sons. What makes you think he was telling the truth about God promising the land to him 3800 years ago. Even if that were true, let’s not forget that Ishmael was Abraham’s first born. In any case if so, why would any of that have any relevance now.
    The bloom is off the roses, guys, you should be thinking about backlash and outrage, not land grabs and settlements.

  3. 3 pablo said at 8:00 am on May 31st, 2010:

    so you’re saying these people risked and gave their lives to provoke Israel’s classic “disproportionate” reactions, just to make Israel look bad. Hmmm that makes a lot of sense.

  4. 4 Jesus B Ochoa said at 8:21 am on May 31st, 2010:

    Naomi Klein is right.

    Boycott Israel, a light unto the lawless.

  5. 5 Levelhead said at 8:25 am on May 31st, 2010:

    Michael,
    This was not a mere “publicity stunt” as this type of convoy has been allowed passage to Gaza before, five times to be exact. Can you tell me what was different this time?
    Also, what are your thoughts on the attack happening in international waters, in direct contravention of the law?

  6. 6 Michael LeFavour said at 8:30 am on May 31st, 2010:

    The problem with Israel’s detractors is that for 63 years they have been closing their eyes and covering their ears to the truth. You are the fool. The fact is you can’t challenge a single thing I have said and prove me wrong with evidence and logic. I have only been fighting this battle since Tali Hatuel was murdered in cold blood along with her children by two heroic martyrs that you champion, but what I am certain of is that you are on the wrong side of any just framework of morality and ethics.

    Were you aboard any of the ships to witness if the terrorist supporters were armed or not? Who cares if Noam claims they weren’t? The first sentence doesn’t even say that anyway.

    Maritime blockades are legal when a nation is involved in armed conflict. Here is a link to the The US Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations. See section 7.7 for details on naval blockades. Israel has conformed to all requirements under international law, including publicizing the exact coordinates of the blockade to relevant maritime authorities.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=2&ved=0CB0QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.usnwc.edu%2Fgetattachment%2Fa9b8e92d-2c8d-4779-9925-0defea93325c%2F1-14M_(Jul_2007)_(NWP)&ei=xN8DTNjEEsWclge55JSBDQ&usg=AFQjCNHqMUeg_G0WLQLDw6u-ltm6xvSJwA

    I suggest you first try to understand what you are blathering on about before opening your fat mouth. It only makes your own self deception all the more comical and dysfunctional. The armed conflict was engaged in when rockets were fired AFTER the total withdrawal of all Israeli forces. What lingers is the results of the legitimate right of all nations to defend themselves.

  7. 7 Michael LeFavour said at 8:43 am on May 31st, 2010:

    “This was not a mere “publicity stunt” as this type of convoy has been allowed passage to Gaza before, five times to be exact.”

    Whether a similar convoy had been allowed to pass through or not does not change the fact that it is a publicity stunt. That set of circumstances would be unrelated if it is true. Where did you get that information? I heard five ships were searched for weapons and the sixth ambushed the naval forces conducting the search. That is a far cry from five other convoys being allowed through, “to be exact” as you claim.

    “Can you tell me what was different this time?”

    I don’t think there were other times and if there were they were searched and allowed through AFTER a search. The difference would be the terrorist supporters using deadly force to prevent Israeli naval forces from protecting their country as they are allowed to under international law.

    “Also, what are your thoughts on the attack happening in international waters, in direct contravention of the law?”

    I don’t see any law that was contravened. Can you give citation of precisely what the violation is?

  8. 8 Tamar said at 11:27 am on May 31st, 2010:

    Thank you, Noam, for your live blogging and pulling together opinions and reports from multiple sources. Information is important. So is a level head. Kol hakavod.

  9. 9 Ariel said at 11:51 am on May 31st, 2010:

    Its just so funny – reading the comments or watching the news from the El-Jazzira station.
    All is so pink – there are no terrorists, exploded buses, squished civilians by terrorist on wheels and I can go on forever listing the pinkish doings of the poor people.
    Lets think about this fact – How come an Aid ship didn’t hold any Aid at all but guns? Odd no?

    Maybe we should feel sorry for other poor people like, lets say, the Taliban. Oh! They are so poor! Shame on USA for trying to catch their poor and sick leader!

    When will the world just face the facts?

  10. 10 Eamonn said at 12:21 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    v. useful, this, thanks.

  11. 11 rick said at 12:41 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    hey, thanks for blogging and bringing sources together! waiting to read more from you in the comming days! take care

  12. 12 Omer said at 12:52 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    Writing out of Istanbul, as a Turk who believes in Israel’s right to exist, it saddens me to see that it is Israel herself that is slowly burrying itself in.

    Israel is unfortunately painting itself, policy wise, into a corner wrto Gaza. It could have, in a much easier way, stopped the flotilla IN her own waters without a raid. Asked to inspect cargo, inspect it and finding no weapons let it go into Gaza.

    This way it could have both contained the situation without loosing face (it would have let them go), provided an olive branch to the people of Gaza, and made an openning salvo to normalizing life in Gaza, looking good in world media and actually acting humanitarian.

    Instead it has turned it into piracy in international waters (72miles from her territory) and another egg in its face wrto human rights.

    The blockade in Gaza does not weaken the extremists giving the moderates a voice. It is turning the moderates INTO extremists.

    Now with the murder of Turkish civilians it is walking away from the single real Moslem ally that it has ever had, that has looked after Jews throughout history.

    Israel’s raid on the aid convoy was politically stupid, militarily bungled and strategically pointless.

  13. 13 Jan Tegnér said at 1:52 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    Sad to see how israelis cheer as their leadership saws off the branch they sit upon. The Ship for Gaza was an international aid convoy with participants from over 40 countries which was attacked on international water. This is a serious crime against international law.

    Among others there were eleven swedish citizens onboard, including a member of the swedish parliament, a professor in religion and a famous swedish author. To insinuate that these people would participate in weapon smuggling to Hamas is ridiculous and only propaganda from the Israeli government to try to hide their own crimes.

    An attack of a vessel on international water is an act of piracy that could be compared to those made by somali pirates. When being attacked on international water, the participants in the Ship for Gaza have every right to defend themselves, even though it is sad that a few of them turned to violence.

    What will it take to make Israel wake up and leave the path of blood and violence? Do the rest of the world have to treat Israel in the same way as Israel treats Gaza? Stop all trade to and from Israel and prevent anyone from entering or leaving Israel? I guess most Israelis would find that being a crime against humanity in the same way as the rest of the world find Israels behaviour in Gaza as a crime against human rights.

    Violence feeds violence. If someone lives in total despair and has nothing left to loose, strapping bombs around your waist might appear as a way out. The best way of stopping suicide bombers is to give them something to live for.

    Wake up, Israel! Make love, not war!

  14. 14 Andrew Clark said at 3:12 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    Almost nothing has made me sadder than to see what Israel has become reduced to in recent years – a country where slick Harvard-educated neo-con PR flacks dissemble solely for an increasingly radicalized domestic audience and an increasingly wary and weary American one. This next time around, however, being a pariah nation will have been a matter of choice rather than necessity. You reap what you sow and building walls, creating blockades, disenfranchising citizens and making up names on maps are all disturbing trends on a path ever downwards, ever more awkwardly towards historical irony.

  15. 15 Michael LeFavour said at 3:12 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    Omer,

    The so called flotilla could not have been stopped without an incident, because it was nothing more than a stunt designed to assist a terrorist organization and create an international incident. The criminal organizers got exactly what they wanted. A spokeswoman for the criminals, Greta Berlin said, “We’re not trying to be a humanitarian mission.” No, the intention was to run a legal blockade and attack Israel’s legitimacy and right to defend itself. Israel had every right under law to defend the blockade within or without it’s territorial waters. Calling it piracy is foolish and ignorant. The Turkish citizens aboard were criminals and Turkey should be ashamed of its complicity.

    Further, there is no evidence at all that suggests in anyone’s wildest fantasy that allowing the floating circus to go unchallenged would have opened a window for anything at all except more criminal attempts to impede Israel’s right to defend itself by imposing a legal blockade on those that are in a state of armed conflict with it. The only “murder” is Israel’s rights. Israeli sailors defended themselves from being lynched by people that had no right to interfere with the self defense of a sovereign nation, nothing more, nothing less. If anything, it should be seen as an act of war on Turkey’s part for its part in organizing the criminal actions.

    Jan,

    “This is a serious crime against international law.”

    Can you give citation on exactly what law was broken? Everyone is a sea lawyer suddenly. If you don’t know the difference between piracy and enforcement of a legal blockade you really look ignorant.

    “What will it take to make Israel wake up and leave the path of blood and violence?”

    An enemy that leaves the path of blood violence.

    “Do the rest of the world have to treat Israel in the same way as Israel treats Gaza?”

    Maybe the rest of the world should treat Israel the way it treats Gaza instead with the most generous hand outs in human history and the bar of human rights and decency set at the lowest rung on the most generous scale.

    “Violence feeds violence. If someone lives in total despair and has nothing left to loose, strapping bombs around your waist might appear as a way out.”

    Is this how you justify supporting people that glorify crimes against humanity? Not allowing your Arab friends to take responsibility for their own actions is sick and disgusting.

  16. 16 Michael LeFavour said at 3:25 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    Andrew,

    “You reap what you sow and building walls, creating blockades, disenfranchising citizens and making up names on maps are all disturbing trends on a path ever downwards, ever more awkwardly towards historical irony.”

    Would calling Judea and Samaria the ethnic cleansing term of “west bank” for lack of having a better historical name for it fall under the reapers blade in your fantasy world? How about calling part of the Jewish ancestral homeland Jordan?

    Further, would slitting the throats of Jewish children, tossing grenades into the windows of peaceful farm houses, hacking old Jews to death too slow to run from a mob rampaging through a public park armed with hatchets and knives, using the wombs of pregnant mothers for target practice at point blank range with an AK 47, bashing the skulls of little girls in, dancing in the streets with a bloody trophy of a handful of human intestines, and walking into a discotheque that does not sell alcohol because it caters to underage teenagers with a bomb strapped to your back reap anything…like building a wall between those that murder and glorify it and those that wish to be left alone maybe? Just curious how cause and effect in Clark’s Wonderland works…

  17. 17 annie said at 4:18 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    thank you very much noam, i am in shock. i don’t know why i didn’t expect it and expected israel to let the aid thru. i keep thinking this is all a bad dream and israel will go back to normal but there is no normal for israel, just more violence and aggression.

    this is so sad and i feel sorry for everyone especially those who lost their loved ones. very tired of all these lies and cover ups and make believe from our ‘ally’. almost speechless. my heart goes out to the people of gaza today, when will this ever be over.

    no worries michael, we’re all just scrolling right past you at this point. how can we miss you if you won’t go away?

  18. 18 Jan Tegnér said at 4:29 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    @Michel:
    According to the US NAVY document you referenced above:
    “International law
    does not recognize the right of coastal nations to establish zones during peacetime that would restrict the exercise
    of nonresource-related high seas freedoms beyond the territorial sea.”

    Even if it does occur hostile activities, this is not to be regarded as a war since it is terrorist groups and not a country that is behind the violence from the arab side.

    Israel has one of the strongest military forces in the world and they always overreact and use unproportional violence as a response to terror activities.

    If the violence was directed towards opposing military forces it might have been an excuse, but Israel takes revenge against women and children and destroy basic infrastructures. This is nothing but state supported terrorism and its both sad and revolting that the people that was the victims of the second world war now have become the offender.

    It is always the strongest part that should take the lead in the struggle for peace, but today Israel is focusing on escalating the conflict instead of creating peace.

    No one that have the slightest insight in the conditions in Gaza could accuse Israel of being either decent, generous or supporting human rights in Gaza. It´s a disgrace for humanity.

    There is nothing gloryful with suicide bombers. It is just tragic! What I said was that poverty, despair and oppression works like fertilization when growing terrorists. If the living standards in Gaza would improve and the palestinians would get some hope for the future it would get much harder for religious extremist terror organisations to recruit members. If you like your life, you simply don´t want to loose it…

    I don´t have any arab friends. However, I have several friends that are jews and they are both upset and ashamed by how Israel behaves.

  19. 19 Erica Jong said at 6:46 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    The facts are far from clear. We should try to know them before having opinions. Opinions are cheap. Facts are precious.

  20. 20 Michael LeFavour said at 7:47 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    You misunderstood the manual and I honestly do not feel like pointing out your confusion. Blockades are legitimate and a nation under attack is allowed to defend itself with one. Israel took all formal steps and met all criteria in implementing the one against the terrorists in Gaza.

    “Even if it does occur hostile activities, this is not to be regarded as a war since it is terrorist groups and not a country that is behind the violence from the arab side”

    I suggest you read Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations…”Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations” Notice it says nothing about one nation attacking another. There is no distinction between an attack from a terror organization or a lawful sovereign. The criteria to invoke self defense is an armed attack, which the rocket fire launched from Gaza clearly constitutes. Surely you did not think your position through before you wrote it? If things worked the way you think they do terrorists would be immune from consequences for their actions because, as you put it, they are not a “country” behind the violence, and by implication are not subject to blockades and such.

    “Israel has one of the strongest military forces in the world and they always overreact and use unproportional violence as a response to terror activities.”

    You are out of your element again. I asked you earlier to give citation to exactly what maritime law was broken (consider this a second request). Now you are moving on to more baseless charges without admitting you were wrong or proving your above statement by citing a relevant body of law. What sort of background do you have as an expert on the use of force and what evidence do you have to support your theory. Many groundless charges are made against Israel. Israel is the subject of more false accusations than probably any other country in the world, (nice of you to pile on without having a clue as to what you are saying) but to my knowledge there has never been a conviction in a competent court to support the many ignorant claims of disproportionate force. From the information I have at this time there was one unconscious Israeli and two had been shot before they resorted to deadly force. Would you agree with me that sinking the ships without risking any damage to themselves would have been an option? An option they did not chose. The point being that Israel shows the greatest restraint of any armed forces deployed on the planet, yet is the subject of much shrill and ignorant rhetoric without any evidence to back it up.

    “If the violence was directed towards opposing military forces it might have been an excuse, but Israel takes revenge against women and children and destroy basic infrastructures. This is nothing but state supported terrorism and its both sad and revolting that the people that was the victims of the second world war now have become the offender.”

    This is more baseless sloganeering. What is your evidence that Israel takes revenge against women and children? Because some die in the cross fire? The people you champion go after women and children as targets and I can give citation on a hundred proven cases that it is so, yet you say nothing about them in your zealotry to delegitimize Israel. Why the hatred? It is more revolting that Jew haters single out the Jewish people for a campaign of misguided hate in a day and age where information is available to those who search for the answers. It is sad that the same psychosis of hate that drove the Nazis to murder is alive and festering in people that claim to care about human rights and justice.

    “It is always the strongest part that should take the lead in the struggle for peace, but today Israel is focusing on escalating the conflict instead of creating peace.”

    This is typical leftist nonsense. It is always the side that is the aggressor that should be punished. The old saying holds true today as it did when it was spoken. If the Israelis put down their weapons the Jews will all be killed, if the Arabs put down their weapons there will be peace. You have made a long list of foolish statements and you are continually adding to it by saying Israel is focusing on escalating the conflict. Israel is prepared to give up parts of the Jewish ancestral homeland for peace. in my judgment that will not bring peace, but that is another debate. How can you say Israel is escalating? If it wants war, what prevents Israel from just attacking?

    “No one that have the slightest insight in the conditions in Gaza could accuse Israel of being either decent, generous or supporting human rights in Gaza. It´s a disgrace for humanity.”

    That rules you out then. Israel has allowed supplies to flow from Israel to Gaza without pause. Over a ton of supplies for every man, woman and child has passed through Israeli hands to an enemy that would slit the throats of their children. Gazans and their blind Jew hating supporters are a disgrace for humanity. So are those faux humanitarians that refuse to understand fully what they are saying. You don’t think Israel has enough hate directed its way? You feel compelled to add your voice, and without knowing the most basic of facts?

    “What I said was that poverty, despair and oppression works like fertilization when growing terrorists. If the living standards in Gaza would improve and the palestinians would get some hope for the future it would get much harder for religious extremist terror organisations to recruit members. If you like your life, you simply don´t want to loose it…”

    More than any of your many misguided statements this proves beyond a doubt that you know nothing. Osama Bin Laden is a filthy rich billionaire, all of the 9/11 hijackers came from upper class families, the Fort Hood jihadist was educated and a well paid professional, the London transit bombers were not poor or living in despair, the jihadists that attacked the Glasgow airport were doctors. Claiming that poverty causes terrorism has no basis in reality. Why don’t other poor people that actually have it much, much worse than the worst in Gaza do resort to suicide bombing? Answer….What causes Arab terrorism to be directed against Israel is Islam and the supremacist notion that it is an abomination for a Muslim to be ruled by a non-Muslim in a Muslim claimed land. The conflict has almost nothing to do with land. The conflict is a religious conflict initiated by Muslims against infidel Jews.

    You have a whole terrorist organization that you have befriended. Their violence is encouraged and partly fueled by stooges such as yourself that refuse to educate yourself. All I can do is look at you, shake my head, and wonder why. Like it or not you are a dupe for insidious bigots willing to justify violence for a gullible Western audience with any sham excuse. A fig leaf to hide the naked aggression and hate, because they need you to continue with their murder against the Jews. How sad. If you honestly cared about half of the issues you raise and knew the whole story in context you would be ashamed of yourself. I feel I am wasting my time trying to reason with you. All that is left then is ridicule.

  21. 21 Shirley Clay said at 8:34 pm on May 31st, 2010:

    israel has no humanity they are tortures mass murderes illegal occupiers they commit crimes against humanity on a daily basis likewest bank is a mirror image of berlinlate 1930s some israelis speak out most dont care israel has lost the ability to be self critical and feel remorse helped along by alarge bunch of collaboraters Rom emanuelle son of a Jew terrorist Obamas right hand man wonder how many innocent palestinian people he blew up hbelieve he still roams around israel with his terrorist mates maybe the warsaw ghetto uprising will be seen as a terrorist act

  22. 22 Levelhead said at 6:17 am on June 1st, 2010:

    Michael,
    Your rabid desire to defend at all costs what is clearly a case of state-sponsored piracy leads you to such idiotic things as quoting a completely irrelevant US navy manual as well as a body that Israel regularly ignores — the United Nations. Suddenly, what the United Nations says is important to apply to Israel’s case? I call bullshit, and I call bullshit on every other piece of obfuscation and straw man argumentation you’ve thrown up in the comments section in defence of what appears to the layman as a completely unprovoked attack.
    You shouldn’t be so duty-bound to Israel — you should be duty-bound to humanity. And you have miserably failed on that count, since you prefer to selectively tally one set of dead people. But hey, you’ll probably not be taking any morality lessons from anyone, arrogant as you are — just like the power-and-violence-hungry Jewish state.

  23. 23 Michael LeFavour said at 5:31 pm on June 1st, 2010:

    Confusedhead,

    If you are going to use a ridiculous alias, pretend like you know something, and cast insults you won’t mind a little artistic license will you?

    Rabid would be calling a legitimate act of self defense piracy. Rabid would be to call a publicity stunt a humanitarian mission after a port was made available for off loading legitimate humanitarian supplies, but refused by the leaders of the floating circus you feel deserves pity for interfering with the self defense of a beleaguered people. Rabid can be found no further than the truly foaming at the mouth lunacy of the post just before yours where one rabid charge after another are hurled in a mindless rage of ignorance. You are silent about that though. That tells quite a bit about the sort of person hiding behind an alias you are.

    I live in the US. I referred to a well written and detailed manual on maritime operations and directed to the relevant chapter. What authoritative document have you brought to the table? Oh, none, what a shock.

    Israel has never been the subject of a Chapter VII resolution, Chapter VI resolutions are suggestions only and non-binding. Why don’t you share with us what Israel’s obligation is to agree with non-binding suggestions? You call bullshit, because you are obviously full of it.

    Either Article 51 is relevant or it isn’t? Does Israel have a right to self defense just like every other nation? Not in the out of level world inside your head.

    I challenge you to point out one legitimate straw man I have erected and shot down to make some point.

    Unprovoked? The intent of the ship was to violate a legal blockade. My money is that most laymen understand clearly that when you go looking for trouble like the criminals trying to aid terrorists did, sometimes you find it.

    Oh but I am duty bound to humanity and I apply my judgment equally for all. You on the other hand have singled the Jews of Israel out for a standard that is unattainable and which you do not hold your mass murdering friends in Gaza to.

  24. 24 Gene said at 7:15 pm on June 1st, 2010:

    Sink the Damn Ships!

  25. 25 Mehmet Necati said at 12:45 am on June 2nd, 2010:

    Israel is just drawing the wrath of God. This is too high, humankind! This is too cruel! At the end of the “world game,” we will see the conseqences of our actions, so will Israel and Jewish people who agree and disagree with Israel.

  26. 26 Levelhead said at 7:45 am on June 2nd, 2010:

    Michael,
    You’re right about the name-calling. I apologize. What I don’t apologize for is holding Israel, a nation that calls itself a beacon of democracy and decency in the Middle East, to indeed a higher — not unattainable — standard. Israel has turned into something Jews have never had — a mighty machine, democratically advanced, industrially capable, equipped with the means of holding its own against both economic competitors and belligerent neighbours, though with a bit of help from friends.
    The national pride of Israel is off the charts, and in a certain sense, it should be: they’ve lived through the absolute worst of humanity and somehow not only survived but thrived and built themselves a beautiful homeland from rocks in a desert that deserves to exist, no matter the contentiousness of the initial establishment effort.
    They’ve also become fierce warriors, and their commitment to military service is more proof of that. How many countries can boast that members of their diaspora happily return to their homeland for non-compulsory military service? I personally know a few Canadian Jews who have done just that and proudly wear their IDF shirts in public (a different type of provocation, one might say).
    So what’s my issue? Well, I too believe I hold everyone to the same standard, granted the conditions ARE ALL EQUAL. A besieged people stripped of their lands and their rights, collectively punished, caged up like animals between high and thick concrete walls and treated as little more than pests by a brutal occupying force cannot be held to the same standard as a regional superpower with a nuclear deterrent, highly-trained military, super-powerful friends and a claim of moral superiority.
    So when, in the dead of night, Israel sends its superbly trained commandos onto a boat, floating in international waters and carrying humanitarian aid for those downtrodden people, and subsequently claims they had to kill crew members because they dared defend themselves with whatever they had at hand against an obvious aggressor, I have a tremendous problem.
    I agree with you that the boats were a provocation, but not in the criminal sense. The status quo in Gaza deserves to be challenged, and the Israeli authorities deserve to be continuously prodded about the conditions of the people it has subjugated. Furthermore, the nature of the provocation was a non-violent one, by all accounts except Israeli. Nuclear submarines off the coast of Iran, like the ones Israel supposedly sent out recently, is a provocation that might warrant belligerent action. But humanitarian aid? Cleared by international ports? Are you seriously suggesting that Israel had no choice but to raid the ships in the middle of the night with their best trained warriors in order to get an INTERNATIONAL RELIEF GROUP to… what? I’d say stand down, but that’s a military term that doesn’t apply to this flotilla.
    In any case, there’s many reasons to consider this latest fatal misstep by Israel as indicative of the national moral compass going completely haywire — lying about the supposed weapons on board and shutting out journalists and censuring witnesses the most disturbing among them for a nation committed to democratic principles. I’m not saying Israel is the only country who’s lost its way, far from it. But it is at the heart of a conflict that has torn apart the Middle East and dismayed and divided the world for far too long, and it needs to show leadership by accepting that its stated position should be its actual one, and act consequently. If that’s really too much to ask from a strong, proud country built by a long-suffering people who should know better than to systematically treat their neighbours as subhuman and their countrymen like second-class citizens, then there’s no hope for any of us, anywhere.

  27. 27 Michael LeFavour said at 2:52 pm on June 2nd, 2010:

    Whatever your name is,

    Don’t apologize. You have already revealed your inner nature and I prefer honesty.

    Israel is fragile and lacks territorial depth to defend itself adequately and Israel is not a Muslim country, so it has enemies intent on destroying it, because the conflict has nothing to do with land, it is a war against the Jews. Period.

    Israel is one good Arab military commander away from genocide. I guarantee that if I had the resources the Arabs do and command over their armies Israel would be a distant memory in short order. It will only take one competent leader to change everything forever, because the Arabs will not care about international niceties and human rights.

    You seem to appreciate some of what the Jews have gone through, but all is not well. They have been militarized against their will. They commit to serve because there is no other choice. The Arabs have taken the option from them.

    So that leaves us with your claimed issue. You think you are fair, but then make absurd claims that show me you know nothing like

    A) the Arabs are beleaguered…they are not under a naval blockade without a justifiable cause and the power to end the blockade lies in their own actions, mainly ceasing to attack Israel and handing over Gilad Shalit, or what is left of him

    B) the Arabs had their land stripped from them…there has never been a Palestine or a people calling themselves Palestinians until opposition to the Jews made it convenient for one to be created out of thin air, what land are you referring to?

    C) the Arabs had their rights stripped from them…any restrictions placed on the Arabs are the result of their violence, but they have lost no “rights” that I am aware of, maybe you can tell us what you think they have lost and how you think they lost it so I can judge for myself with what I know to be factual

    D) the Arabs are collectively punished…those that throw this around cheapen the meaning of actual collective punishment. You will have to bring an example, so I can dismantle it using the exact same framework I judge all peoples with.

    E) the Arabs are caged…actually it is the Jews that are caged. The walls are for self defense to keep mass murderers out and away from the most vulnerable members of Israeli society, not to keep the Arabs in. The blockade and travel restrictions are a separate matter, which could end in the blink of an eye if the Arabs put down their weapons and hate.

    F) the Israelis are a brutal occupying force…by what fair scale are you judging brutality on? In the 60s, 70s and 80s Arabs worked and traveled freely among Israeli citizens, Israel built hundreds of health clinics and schools for the Arabs, the economy in Judea and Samaria saw double digit growth at a time when Europe was being crushed as the local economy switched to the shekel, women and landless Arabs were given the first ever vote in municipal elections, and Israel made immediate overtures towards giving away land for peace. Suddenly calls for jihad and Jew murder rang out from the mosques and from the mouths of Arab civic leaders, as more and more Jews were hacked into pieces or blown to bits by Arabs heeding these calls crippling restrictions and check points sprang up, if you think about it hard enough even you can see the connection. Ever hear of Black September? More Arabs killed in one month than all of the Arabs killed during what you label a brutal occupation. Ever hear of a town called Hama in Syria? No? It is gone. It was buried with all 30 thousand of its residents in a two week operation. You want to talk about brutality? There are more murders in the city I live in per capita than are killed in self defense by Israel. I would like to hear what you call the treatment the residents of Darfur receive if you call what Israel is doing brutal. So much for your claim of holding everyone to the same standard.

    G) Israel is armed with nuclear weapons…here is the elusive straw man, since we are discussing the poor, poor Arabs and Israel you threw this in for what? You think it is relevant to mention nukes because the threat to use them on the Arabs of Gaza is a factor in the relationship?

    H) Israel has super powerful friends…if the US is such a good friend why won’t the US recognize all of Jerusalem as being part of Israel? The Arabs have something much more powerful, they are Arab and Muslim and have racist bigots for friends that support Arab and Muslims against filthy infidels. If Israel were not Jewish there would be no conflict. Think I am wrong? When the East Bank Arabs captured Judea and Samaria there was not a word of protest for 19 years. The PLO was formed in 1964. What was to be liberated in 1964? Isn’t the long lost Palestinian homeland somewhere beyond the so called green line?

    I) the Arabs in Gaza are downtrodden people in need of aid…the residents of Gaza are the world’s most spoiled rotten beggars. They get more aid than any other people have in history. To disempower them by portraying them as the eternal victim of the evil Jew is demeaning.

    J) the terrorist flotilla was just defending itself against an aggressor…with this unfair statement you have just taken Israel’s right of self defense away, but you are fair in your standards to all, huh? Israel had a legal blockade up and had the right to prevent all maritime traffic into the blockaded zone. No neutral observer can claim that the offer to off load the cargo in Ashdod and deliver it to Gaza was not fair or that the intention by the terrorist flotilla participants was humanitarian in nature. I am told this has been a bad year for North Korean food production and thousands are expected to actually starve to death like they have in the past. What sort of reaction do you think a flotilla would have received if it had launched from South Korea, flying South Korean or American flags to deliver “aid” to the North? And if human rights is the agenda why are the hypocritical criminals you are enamored with not trying to save the people of Darfur that are really starving, for example?

    K) Israelis treat Arabs as sub human…that is projection, your Arab friends have labeled the Jews a virus to be eradicated and to be apes and pigs. Israelis have 20% of their population walking around free and healthy. How many Jews live in Gaza? You don’t think a Jew ever owned private property in Gaza, purchased with peaceful intentions?

    The status quo in Gaza does need to be challenged. The international community should take a moral stand against the continual rocket fire coming from Gaza, the misogyny of honor killings, the ethnic cleansing of the Christian Arab population, the murder of gays, the torture, the crime against humanity of kidnapping and holding hostages, the incitement to violence and jihad, the closing of the press, and the farce of international handouts that only create more dependence.

    Ships are not inspected leaving a port. They are inspected upon arrival. There was no international port that “cleared” these vessels. Israel offered a way for legitimate aid to be off loaded and delivered, but the criminals refused proving beyond a doubt that the mission was not a humanitarian one. It was a political stunt and nothing more that had been continuously warned for two days not to violate the legal blockade.

    In any case there are many reasons to consider this latest dishonest condemnation of Israel by the international hate mongers as indicative of the moral compass of these groups and individuals going completely haywire – lying about being fair, selective reporting, impossible to attain standards of conduct, singling the Jewish nation out (anti-Semitism), blaming Israel for the conflict in the Middle East while ignoring the thousands of Muslim attacks on infidels from Bali to Thailand, Spain, Nigeria, Sudan, Russia, China, and the US. If fairness in judging Israelis by a single standard, a human standard, is too much to ask for, then there is no hope for us, anywhere.

  28. 28 Levelhead said at 7:45 am on June 3rd, 2010:

    Thanks for the disparaging answer, Michael.

    It really helps the conversation to have your carefully weighed words mockingly repeated to you, when all you were trying to do is make amends for initially poor etiquette while defending what you still believe is a valid point, mainly the need for a show of moral leadership from a powerful, self-appointed “moral” nation long engaged in subjugating a relatively defenceless people through a conflict that is arguably at the heart of a larger, worldwide civilizational conflict.

    Long live the Internet and the spirit of communication it breeds… Well, it’s been a pleasure…

    Toodles!

  29. 29 Christos Georgalas said at 2:31 pm on June 4th, 2010:

    Anyway you look at it – Israel is a rogue state:
    Either it is occupying Gaza and then it is part of Israel – so Gazas should vote at Israel elections.
    Or it is not occupying Gaza and then what right has it to control its waters?

    Any other solution has been tried and tested (in South Africa – it was called apartheid) – and failed.

    Blockade is not legal – according to UN: On January 24, 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a statement calling for Israel to lift its siege on the Gaza Strip, allow the continued supply of food, fuel, and medicine, and reopen border crossings.
    On December 15, 2008,United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard A. Falk described the embargo on Gaza a crime against humanity.
    In August 2009, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay criticised Israel for the blockade in a 34-page report, calling it a violation of the rules of war.
    In March 2010, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated that the blockade of Gaza is causing “unacceptable suffering” and that families were living in “unacceptable, unsustainable conditions”.

    Those who support the blockade should be tried in International Criminal Court – those who try to break it are just enforcing the Law.