- More On The Legality Of Israel's Blockade Of Gaza
- Wapo: even though israel's right it's still wrong
- The security council condemns "acts"
- Accounts of the attack
- Who strengthened hamas?
Posted: 01 Jun 2010 01:58 PM PDT
Earlier, I posted about The San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994 which showed that Israel was within its right in confronting the Gaza Flotilla.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, director of IMRA asked Hebrew University international law expert Dr. Robbie Sabel about the legality of the IDF action in international waters:
There is more information about that issue from the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Of course, this will not stop the apologists from blindly insisting that Israel had no right to stop the Gaza Flotilla while it was in international waters.
But those people are wrong.
by Daled Amos
Posted: 01 Jun 2010 05:48 AM PDT
It would appear that the editors of the Washington Post accept many of Israel's premises, but still argue that Israel is wrong in The Flotilla Fiasco.
We have no sympathy for the motives of the participants in the flotilla -- a motley collection that included European sympathizers with the Palestinian cause, Israeli Arab leaders and Turkish Islamic activists. Israel says that some of the organizers have ties to Hamas and al-Qaeda. 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 flotilla turned down an Israeli offer to unload the six boats and deliver the goods to Gaza by truck; it ignored repeated warnings that it would not be allowed to reach Gaza. Its spokesmen said they would insist on "breaking Israel's siege," as one of them put it.
Yet the threat to Israel was political rather than military. So far there's been no indication the boats carried missiles or other arms for Hamas. Mr. Netanyahu's aim should have been to prevent the militants from creating the incident they were hoping for. Allowing the boats to dock in Gaza, as Israel had done before, would have been better than sending military commandos to intercept them. The fact that the soldiers who roped down from helicopters to the lead Turkish ferry were unprepared to subdue its passengers without using lethal force only compounded the error.
This is wrong. The point of breaking the blockade is military. Once Israel gives in, Israel would have a much harder time turning back other boats carrying military payloads. Though it's interesting that the Post is condemning Israel for not using lethal force. (Noah Pollak made a similar point, via memeorandum)
So what should Israel do?
As for Mr. Netanyahu, the only road to recovery from this disaster lies in embracing, once and for all, credible steps to create conditions for a Palestinian state. A good start would be easing restrictions on both Gaza and the West Bank, once the reactions to Monday's events subside. Mr. Netanyahu also needs to broaden his government to include pro-peace parties; one of his main problems is cabinet hawks who have made Israeli diplomacy an oxymoron. The prime minister is in a deepening hole; his only way out is to move to the center.
Here the Post's editors can't break out of the intellectual shackles that bind them. The Israeli government is a centrist government. The only "pro-peace" party not in the government that has any real support is Kadimah.
But what's troubling is the double standard. Israel's blockade is an effort to isolate and weaken Hamas. Defeating Hamas is a prerequisite for peace. Hamas is far more extreme than any "cabinet hawks" in Israel's government now. So the message of the Washington Post is: give Hamas a break and you'll have peace. That is as absurd as it is offensive.
Posted: 01 Jun 2010 03:46 AM PDT
No surprise. The United States tried for some ambiguity, but didn't really get it.
In a formal statement that seemed less forceful than what had been demanded by Palestinians, Arabs and Turkey the council also demanded an impartial investigation into the incident on Monday.
Read through the article and there are a few bits of conventional wisdom.
Israel used excessive force. For example the French ambassador in a display of hypocrisy is quoted:
Gerard Araud, the French ambassador, said the death toll indicated "there was disproportionate use of force and a level of violence which nothing justifies and which we condemn."
Why were people killed in the sea off of Gaza? The Islamist-led forces there. Because--as was shown with five of the six ships--if they didn't fight nobody would be hurt but if they assaulted Israeli soldiers, the latter would defend themselves.
Another theme from the article is that Israel's blockade of Gaza is "unsustainable."
But he also described the situation in Gaza as "unsustainable" and called on Israel to undertake a credible investigation.
The blockade has definitely had a downward effect on living standards in the Gaza Strip. And of course there are two blockades since Egypt's government, which doesn't want Hamas's close associates, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to seize power and execute is leaders, also maintains an embargo.
Repeatedly the article cites that Israel in violation of international law. Daled Amos quotes the relevant section of International law:
According to The San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994
The article also persists in describing the mission as strictly humanitarian.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, whose country's once close relations with Israel have deteriorated markedly since Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2008, called the attack "tantamount to banditry and piracy; it is murder conducted by a state."
The IDF has an inventory and photographs of the arms seized on the ship, Mavi Marmara:
Finally the article makes a point of emphasizing claims that Israel's actions have harmed its relations with Turkey. But Turkey, under its current Islamist government and embrace of Israel's enemies has made a mockery of any friendship that existed between the two countries. Claudia Rosett writes (via Daled Amos):
But one of the main players appears to be Turkey. It was a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, which after a big sendoff from Turkey apparently took the lead in the flotilla, its passengers professing nonviolence while waiting with knives and metal cudgels to start a fight. And in Turkey, a lead player in this bloody exercise has been a Turkish foundation, the radical Islamist IHH, or Foundation for Human Rights, Liberties, and Humanitarian Relief. The IHH enjoys consultative status with the UN as a non-governmental organization, or NGO, has an office in Gaza, and has apparently been taking part in this Gaza stunt with the blessing of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. Far from serving as a seal of good housekeeping for the IHH, such ties ought to call into question the judgment of both the UN and Erdogan.
While the Times quotes Israel's ambassador towards the end, the bulk of the article amplifies phony charges made by Israel's enemies. Instead of illuminating the issue, it simply serves as a clearinghouse for condemnations of Israel.
Crossposted on Yourish.
Posted: 01 Jun 2010 03:46 AM PDT
Instead of simply quoting Israel's enemies, the New York Post gives an Israeli soldier's account ot the assault on the Mavi Marmara.
"I saw a soldier on the ground with two people beating the hell out of him. I pushed them off of him, and they moved on to me and started to beat me up with the poles. This is how I broke my hand apparently," he said.
The Washington Post acknowledges the attack on the Israeli soldiers, but most of the Washington Post's account is filled with criticisms of Israel. For example:
Israel said it is allowed under international law to enforce a maritime blockade on international seas. "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 Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
Turkey is given the right of response, but it wasn't just Israel's claim that its attack on the flotilla was in accord with international law - that's what international law says! Turkey's response is pure propaganda, not balance! To add a qualification here, is to question Israel's claim, when the text of the law is quite clear.
Why can't more newspapers be like the New York Post?
Posted: 01 Jun 2010 03:40 AM PDT
A month ago, Elder of Ziyon had strung together a number of reports from different sources (and different levels of credibility) that suggested that Hamas was losing its grip on Gaza.
(Another indication that Hamas's popularity had been declining is that we've stopped seeing stories in the media claiming that the blockade was counterproductive because it was boosting Hamas's popularity.)
Given indications that Hamas is losing the support of its citizens, it's disappointing that it's apparently getting support elsewhere.
A number of Hamas leaders have hinted over the past few days that the US administration has begun talking to the Islamist movement through both official and non-official channels.
So is it any surprise that Hamas felt it had nothing to lose with this effort to break the blockade? In the end Hamas is convinced that the United States recognizes its importance, and wouldn't pay a political price for challenging Israel. (Or having its stooges challenge Israel.)
This is the complete opposite of the Glenn Kessler's presentation, Israeli assault complicates efforts to improve relationship with U.S. in the Washington Post (via memeorandum):
The worldwide condemnation of the deadly Israeli assault on the Gaza aid flotilla will complicate the Obama administration's efforts to improve its tense relations with Jerusalem and likely will distract from the push to sanction Iran over its nuclear program.
This "analysis" is from the school of "I don't understand why Israel defends itself" thought, carefully taking only statements that reinforce the idea that Israel must not upset the Muslim world. Were the Israeli soldiers supposed to have courteously surrendered themselves to be beaten and thrown to the water?
And to suggest that Israel's actions alienate Turkey are absurd. Turkey organized this stunt. Turkey, that has recently publicly snubbed the Obama administration and declared its fealty to Iran and Syria, is the problem. But not a single one of Kessler's sources point this out. I guess for balance, he included a comment from Daniel Levy, who is Israeli, but not a single one of his sources could be considered pro-Israel.
By his choice of sources, Kessler demonstrated that this was a blatantly anti-Israel hit piece rather than any sort of objective analysis. If it belonged anyplace, it belonged as an op-ed, not in the news section.
The Obama administration, while seemingly criticized by Kessler for not being more forceful in its condemnation of Israel, could manage only to say that it is "working to understand" Israel's reasons for fighting back. It is this sort of equivocation along with its fruitless outreach to our enemies that emboldens them.
Crossposted on Yourish.
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