Kuwaiti Journalist: The Flotilla Was Violent; Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself.
Memri is a great resource for translations of Arabic media. From their website:
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region’s media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Persian, Urdu-Pashtu, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East.
Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization.
Via Ha'aretz by Nir Keidar
This is what I love about living in a democracy, people are free to demonstrate, and boy do they demonstrate here!
Tel Aviv city center is a large square that is a popular place to hold large gatherings. It is also now named Rabin Square, after Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated there in 1995.
Leftist and rightist Israelis clash at Gaza flotilla protest in Tel Aviv – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.
As usual, STRATFOR gets it right.
“It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists.”
It’s not about, “whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard?”
Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion | STRATFOR.
Alan Dershowitz writes an excellent article supporting the legality of Israel’s actions. He directly addresses the piracy issue by quoting international law on blockades. Apparently, Israel was within its rights to make efforts to turn back a ship whose stated purpose was to break the blockade. Next issue, the legality of the blockade.
Personally, I doubt that world opinion will change much towards Israel regardless of whether Gaza gets more supplies or not. It is already an established “fact” in the pro-Palestinian mythology that Israel salivates over any opportunity to use force. In reality, Israel usually makes attempts to avoid violence. The Israelis I know also abhor violence, but they do value the relative security enjoyed since Gaza was closed off.
Let’s also not forget that Israel is not alone in the blockade. Egypt also maintains strict controls over the entry and exit of people and goods via their border. I wonder what would have happened if the flotilla had entered Egyptian territorial waters.
I support Dershowitz’s opinion that Israel’s actions, while they may be legal, were still stupid. Not that I expect to be enlightened with operational secrets, but why on earth did this have to happen in international waters?
I do agree with the criticism from friends who have pointed out that Israel transfers huge amounts of humanitarian aid each week. The goods supposedly found on the ships were not any different than aid that is sent through the border crossing with Gaza on a regular basis and in much larger quantities then the ships contained. The ships were full of activists. Apparently not much room remained for the actual aid supplies.
What most worries me is Israel’s position vis a vis other western nations. There is so much hate already towards Israel, this action certainly wasn’t helpful. Then again, as so many have pointed out, they’re gonna hate us anyway. This just gives a more current excuse.
It’s going to be a long hot summer….
Jameel makes very good and accurate points in his comment in the previous article. Via Twitter, he added some more interesting details of the event, such as that pistols were found along with large amounts of cash. However, no amount of talking points can stand in the face of what has been one of the biggest mistakes Israel has made in a past checkered with PR mistakes.
All else aside, why do it in international waters? If it is true that boarding a ship in international waters is an act of piracy, then the activists on the ship were legally acting in self defense. I don’t like to write these words, and this is the main reason I blame the Israeli government. I blame them for making me ashamed.
Why does this remind me of Sabra and Shatilla? Maybe because no explanation will sufficiently explain the terrible error in judgment, and also perhaps because it will be the downfall of Ehud Barak, just as Sabra and Shatilla appeared to put an end to all political life for Ariel Sharon, back in the day. He recovered, but it took about 20 years for the stigma to be white-washable.
There is another ship, ironically named the MV Rachel Corrie, on its way to attempt to break the blockade. I’m confident this time Israel will find a less confrontational method to deal with it.
As an Israeli citizen, I can’t just ignore today’s action. However, I’m not sure what my position/opinion is at this point. By the end of today, I will all be a lot smarter. However, I do blame the Israeli government for their handling. I just can’t believe that there was no better way to deal with/head off this situation.
That said, if this happened within Israel’s territorial waters, and if the flotilla did indeed ignore coast guard instructions to dock at Ashdod port, just a few miles from Gaza, so that the humanitarian aid could be checked for weapons, none of this would have happened. So far, both sides have behaved irresponsibly, at best.
Best updates from the Israeli position are being live blogged at Jameel’s The Muqata
All sides are broadcasting on Twitter, as usual.