Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Gaza Flotilla

The international media and world governments have reacted to Israel's boarding of the Gaza flotilla. The almost universal reaction has been the condemnation of Israel's boarding of a peacefully intentioned vessel in international waters.

I am not so naive as to believe that the truth will change the minds of the media and global leaders. I have seen enough to know that the world has lost its patience with the truth in Israel's case. The media and world organs have provided the Arab world with a mouthpiece, and have repeated the lies so often that they trump truth. The word "occupation" has been used so much, that the world forgets the armistance agreements in '67 and '73, agreements which define Israel's legally binding international frontiers, and provide the West Bank and Gaza as Israeli territory until Israel, Egypt and Jordan, draw up new agreements otherwise. The word "apartheid" is bandied about so that the true racial oppression of actual citizens in South Africa is forgotten. Israeli treatment of non-citizen terrorists is viewed as the mistreatment of law-abiding citizens. Israel's equality and democracy for its diverse citizenry is ignored. The terms "illegal settlement" and "illegal blockade" twist morally and legally acceptable actions into evil practices. And the final, perfect irony, the use of the term "Nazi", calling to memory the wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians, is used to describe the limited actions of a state surrounded and attacked on two sides, to handle actual terrorists intent on the murder of non-combatants.

However, I know that in the end, the truth matters. It matters to us, as we deal with attacks from every side. It matters to Jews world over who know not what to say when confronted by enemies of the truth, who use lies and propoganda to veil their new anti-semitism, called anti-zionism. And the truth will matter when the world once again, for however short a period of time, considers the facts instead of the screams of the mob.

So what is the truth?

1) Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist organization. (Many may feel that Hamas is a freedom-fighting organization, and not terrorists. In a moment of honesty, however, the free world has named them terrorists because they attack civilians and utilize tactics to induce the population of Israel to fear. Those who choose to label Hamas as anything other than terrorists will have to redefine the word terror.)
2) Hamas is in control of Gaza not through democratic means; rather, they wrested control from the ruling party through violence, bloodshed and intimidation directed towards the residents of Gaza.
3) Since the violent takeover of Gaza by Hamas, Israel and Egypt, with the support of most western Governments, have effected a blockade of Gaza.
4) The sole purpose of this blockade is to prevent arms from reaching the terrorists. Literally hundreds of tons of food reach Gaza from Israel weekly. Gazans are routinely brought to Israeli hospitals for treatment that is beyond the ken of Gazan doctors.
5) The flotilla's express purpose is not to bring food and relief to Gaza. If that was their purpose, they would have agreed to Israel's offer to take the supplies in to Gaza after inspection. The expressed purpose of the flotilla was to break the blockade in place to prevent weaponse from reaching terrorists.
6) According to international agreements regarding running of blockades (see the San Remo Manual, article 67), a ship is boardable even on the high seas if it intends to run a blockade. It is considered in violation of a blockade the moment it sets out from port with the purpose of running the blockade. Israel acted within international law. The use of force is permitted as a last resort.
7) Some say Israel should have allowed the ship through. They say that this would have been less damaging to Israel. However, this is far from true. Israel had three choices: 1) allow the ship through, 2) physically block the ship and reach a standoff situation, 3) take the ships to Israel after boarding them. The third option was the best choice in a sitation that contained only bad choices. (1) would have presented Israel as a paper tiger, unable or unwilling to enforce its own blockade. Further, it would have allowed in potential weaponry and terrorists to Gaza. (2) would have resulted in a standoff situation in which the flotilla members would have used the media to their advantage: imagine the flotilla members going on a hunger strike until being allowed to run the blockade! Or the flotilla ships may have rammed Navy vessels, requiring the use of much more force. Israel really had no choice but to board.
7) The flotilla members claimed the would be non-violent and resist passively. Video and images from the boats reveal these verbal assurances to be lies. The soldiers of Israel's Navy, carrying out legally sanctioned actions, were beaten and thrown overboard, stabbed and shot, by the 'non-violent' protestors. The fact that the feeling around the world is that Israel opened fire on unarmed civilians shows just how powerfully the flotilla members are in control of the media surrounding this event, and/or how biased the world is against Israel.

In conclusion, the Israelis acted within their legal rights and responsibilities towards their citizens. The flotilla was made up of provocateurs whose purpose was to score a big PR win for their side. The state of Israel's image in a world that is tired of the truth and just wants Israel to go away is such that Israel lost the PR battle before it began. Anything Israel did would be reported gleefully, either as a weakness in blockade, or cruelty in boarding.

And to counter all the disinformation, here is a picture of a 'peaceful flotilla member' describing his plans for the Israeli soldiers:

And here is a video documenting the violence met by the Israelis in enforcing their internationally-recognized blockade: