The "flotilla video": Israeli troops storm boat with aid supplies bound for Gaza Strip

flotilla.jpg In the news today, worldwide controversy around an Israeli commando attack on a "Free Gaza Movement" flotilla carrying aid supplies to the blockaded Gaza strip. NYT story here. Varying reports on how many were killed: 10 according to Israel, and 19 or more according to the activists and some news organizations. Some 600 people were aboard the flotilla including a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor. The attacked ship was some 100km (70 miles) off the coast, in international waters. Above, video of the event.

Analysis and reactions around the web: The Wikinews article is interesting, in part for the clash of perceptions from those who condemn and those who support the actions of Israel's military. This Jerusalem Post article touches on the resulting PR and media offensive out of Israel, and the government's rationalization for what it maintains was a justified and defensive event (and pointed to ties with Turkey and alleged "Islamist" groups). More reading: "Why the Gaza boat deaths are a huge deal," Blake Hounshell in Foreign Policy. Condemnation from South African Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. "A Lesson in Information Operations," Center for a New American Security. Ha'aretz: "Israel Lost at Sea." Top Israeli official when Gaza blockade was imposed several years ago: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet."
(some links via @ggreenwald @ethanz @NickKristof @seanbonner)

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  1. Wikinews link is wrong btw.

    What I don’t understand is why they didn’t just arrest them on shore if there were weapons. Attacking at sea seems to be the most likely route to escalating violence and accidental death.

    1. That’s easy. As a sailor that has made entry to foreign countries around the world, I will tell you something pretty definitive. Every country with Maritime borders has the right to direct you where to make port and subsequently has the right to respond if you do not comply with those instructions, in any way they see fit. This is not some game. You do not screw around with blockades, considering that they are usually devised to keep people, weapons and bad things away from an area.

      With that in mind. Here is what I consider the most important aspect of this entire fiasco, which of course will be swept under the rug.

      1.) Video: Israel instructing the Flotilla not to make port in Gaza, but rather somewhere else and the Flotilla clearly stating that they do not give a damn. That right there is a clear and present indication that the person(s) responsible for the Flotilla and its passengers had no desire to comply with Israel and were eager to violate its requests for the Flotilla to make Quarantine at a specific location in their territorial waters. It was a complete disregard for the safety of the people on board and violation of protocol that every country demands when entering their nation via the open seas.

      If I was planning on entering lets say Thailand and was instructed via radio to make port at Krabi then replied with, “No, I am going to Koh Lanta.” my boat would be boarded and I would probably be sitting in Jail while they strip it clean.

      2.) They sure don’t look like “Peace Activists” to me. Notice that despite their being a large group of people beating an IDF solider while he is down on the ground with metal pipes, the other IDF solider is using a paintball gun with Non Lethal rounds to subdue the “Peace Activists” that are beating him.

      So yeah, I am not drinking the “Israeli Bully Koolaid” this time around. They asked politely for the Flotilla to make port somewhere, they refused. When Israel tried to take control of the ship they were confronted with the true nature of these “Peace Activists”.

      1. Hmm. Israeli only allows 15000 tons of aid to enter Gaza each week, which the UN identifies as less than a quarter of the aid that is actually needed. So Israel has been applying a policy in which it is necessary, for the very survival of the Palestinian people, for aid to be smuggled in. Furthermore, the UN does not recognize this blockade, which doesn’t add any legitimacy to it. So this flotilla of ships with 10000 tons of humanitarian aid is headed for Gaza and the Israelis say it can’t be delivered to the people that desperately need it. It appears clear to me that, unless it is really trying to starve and destroy the Palestinian people (which I find incredible), that the Israeli government’s policies toward Palestine is completely insane and unrealistic. You starve a populace, you ghettoize them, you rain down illegal weapons like phosphorus on them, you actively kill people to keep aid from getting to them… It just looks really bad. I’m through taking for granted Israel’s treatment of Palestine is justified. It seems to me to be flatly inhumane and disgusting.

      2. “It was a complete disregard for the safety of the people on board and violation of protocol that every country demands when entering [Israel] via the open seas.”

        They were not entering Israel and therefore Israel was in violation of protocol that every country demands. Further because Israel was wrong to do this it was they who put the people on the convoy in danger.

        I can only assume you also think that Britain did the right thing on Exodus 1947.

      3. Having tried for thirty years to defeat Israel via force of arms, and having failed pathetically, Israel’s enemies switched tactics in the 1980’s.

        The new tactic was to provoke actions that could be used to maximum effect in delegitimizing Israel in the eyes of the Western powers and mass media. Periodically, this tactic would alternate with a rope-a-dope in which a “peace settlement” was negotiated, drafted, and then torn up in a huff at the last minute by the Palestinians.

        And I have to admit the tactic has succeeded brilliantly. The Israelis continue to react to these provocations in exactly the way their enemies intend them to.

    2. Felix, Israel couldn’t have arrested them on shore because the shore they were aiming for is Gaza territory controlled by terrorist organization Hamas. Going on that shore would mean war between Israel and Gaza.

  2. Oh yea, smooth move Israel.

    Why the hell does the US tiptoe around Israel’s sometimes Apartheid-like behavior? Do they really think it helps “keep the peace” in the region? Is it some kind of “fear of losing the Jewish vote” thing?

      1. I agree, that’s a bit of a stretch. That wall that separates Gaza from Israel proper was constructed to stop suicide bombers after years of daily attacks on buses, cafes, shopping centres, religious buildings, government offices, etc. The only real link to ‘apartness’ is that the wall was built between existing ethnic neighbourhoods, keeping them ‘apart’.

        That doesn’t stop the thousands of Palestinians who live INSIDE Jerusalem from living fairly ordinary lives. What it is supposed to stop is the transportation of bombs from predominantly Muslim areas into predominantly Jewish areas of Israel.

        Some people may think that Israel is terrible for the way it behaves, but compare it to the way the USA responded to a single terrorist attack on it’s soil.

        Before anyone gets mad at me, I am not suggesting that the World Trade Centre attack is in any way minor or insignificant. But compare the impact of a single day to decades of the same fear.

        1. Some people may think that Israel is terrible for the way it behaves, but compare it to the way the USA responded to a single terrorist attack on it’s soil.

          Before anyone gets mad at me, I am not suggesting that the World Trade Centre attack is in any way minor or insignificant. But compare the impact of a single day to decades of the same fear.

          There is a pretty large and fundamental difference between the US and Israel in how they deal with occupation from WWII onward. Every time the US has gone in and leveled a nation and occupied it afterwards, the very next thing they did was rebuild and quickly work towards making them sovereign again. The US isn’t always successful, and the fact that you help pick up the pieces is not justification for leveling a nation in the first place, but it is a pretty stark difference in how the US fights and how Israel fights.

          Israel doesn’t just level their neighbors, they then turn around and colonizes and impoverish them. When Israel took the Palestinian territories, instead of attempt to re-build and create a peaceful democracy, they simply occupied and colonized.

          Listening to the right wing factions of Israel is a lesson in horror. These are people who literally see nothing wrong occupying a place, taking the land, and walling it off for all times.

          Israel has created its own nightmare. It might have been justified in the wars that lead to its conquests, but there has been nothing just about what they did after those conquests. WTF did they expect was going to happen after they conquered a territory, occupied it with brutal controls, colonized it, and made no serious moves to try and resolve their sovereignty until decades later? Were they hoping for a happy joy-filled people who throw wreaths at their feet? Most humans put under such conditions are bound to turn nasty.

          1. There is a pretty large and fundamental difference between the US and Israel in how they deal with occupation from WWII onward. Every time the US has gone in and leveled a nation and occupied it afterwards, the very next thing they did was rebuild and quickly work towards making them sovereign again.

            My main point was that the initial response was to blow the shit out of the dirty brown bastards, to paraphrase quite a bit of the sentiment expressed by Americans (and Australians for that matter) on the news coverage here in Australia. No amount of ‘rebuilding’ makes up for the fact that you’ve responded to murder with more murder. I’m talking CIVILIANS here, innocent men, women and children dying in their homes and workplaces. In NY and in Bagdad. In Jerusalem and in Ramala.

            Look, I’m not defending anyones military or politics. I am just trying to point out that there are wrongs on both sides of the issue, and that jumping to conclusions at this stage will only increase the problems of the west not understanding the entire issue.

            I love the fact that even though (I think) my comments are balanced and fairly clearly express that I am not taking sides, that I am trying to discuss and understand what the hell is happening on more than an incidental scale, plenty of the people that have responded have picked out one bit and attacked it. Brilliant!!

            I’m gonna go watch a movie in my nice safe australian house, and forget about this whole thing. I mean I just wanted to try to talk it into some kind of sense, but it seems like people aren’t interested in discussion, just in finding someone else to hate. Which is the problem in the first place. So why bother?

            PS there is no god, fricken get over it.

      2. Shay, I said “Apartheid-like”.

        By that I mean one uniquely identifiable group who goes out of their way to repress another uniquely identifiable group.

        Doing what they can to keep them second class citizens to hold onto their own “privilege”.

        Hmm I guess I shouldn’t say “citizen”, that implies a state.

        1. That doesn’t really accurately describe the situation either. It’s more Country A owns Territory B, people from Territory B launch attacks on the population of Country A, Country A responds with military action including a naval blockade. Whatever its effects on Palestinian civilians, they’re not the intent of the blockade. The intent is to keep those attacks from happening. Now, granted, civilians are suffering, too — but not because Israelis specifically want them to suffer. The civilians are just caught in-between.

          1. That “Palestinians attack, Israel responds” inductive two piece causal tunnel vision is absurd.

            Shift the frame one position to either side and the whole thing flips, doesn’t it?

            There is never (maybe almost never) a single party to blame, but playing this (referring to Israel’s treatment of the people of Gaza and the West Bank generally) off as self defense is tired.

            And a night raid at sea doesn’t seem the hallmark of a standard, legal operation.

    1. At risk of being abused by a lot of people, there is one key reason the US turns a blind eye to so much of Israel’s behaviour and that is to keep a military stronghold in the Middle East.

      Disruption to peace is beneficial to the US too as it keeps Middle Eastern countries from becoming stable enough to band together and really control the price of oil, which of course would absolutely screw the US.

    2. Holtt, you have no idea what apartheid means if you’re attributing it to Israel. And to keep the discussion focused – There’s nothing apartheid about preventing unauthorized sea vessels from violating a country’s borders, even when it’s under the pretense of a “peaceful” “freedom” mission.

      I know lives were lost and am sorry for that – but since the activists on the ships attacked the IDF troops and endangered their lives, the fault is with them and not with Israel.

  3. I think someone should send a flotilla of aid to North Korea through the South Korean blockade just to see the worlds non-reaction when the South Korean navy sinks it without a second thought.

    1. Such an unintelligent statement. That’s like comparing apples to Michael Jackson.

  4. There will be international condemnation of varying degrees. U.S. will issue a mild “We are sorry to hear that this kind of thing happened”, EU will issue a marginally stronger “This shouldn’t have happened” and that’ll be that.

    Apart from harsh words, there will never be any kind of negative result to Israel. Even if they went on record to say they were planning on killing them all for giggles, nothing will ever be done about this.

    Beats me why. Any other country that did all these things would be sitting on a trade embargo with no end in sight.

  5. Here in Sweden people are demonstrating against the attacks. Even the Israeli-pro right wing government parties are participating in the protests.

    Several famous Swedish citizens where illegaly apprehended by the IDF on international waters on swedish boats and their property seized (which is defined as piracy by maritime law), some are missing others have been jailed in Israel and forced either to sign some aggrement that they where there illegaly (in which case they will be deported) or set infront of Israeli courts.

    This is by far the worst possible PR-mistake Israel could have done

  6. srl s snglrly th mst cntsh cntry n th plnt. They won’t even let children’s toys into Palestine.

    I live in hope that one day Israel’s actions will turn round and bite it firmly on the arse. It’ll be a long wait i’m sure, but I have patience.

    ‘m thnkng tht th hlcst crd s gttng tnsy tny bt wrn rnd th dgs rght nw.

    1. SB-129, when expressing your anger towards Israel, please don’t use sexist terms, or minimize the pain of genocide.

      1. Avram: Apologies, and Granted: Wasn’t being (and am not a) sexist. Am just so fckng angry about this that the most-foul-of-foul-words was all i could muster.

        As for genocide, Israel was BORN of the world’s collective guilt of genocide, and look what the bastards are doing – albeit in slow motion.

        One day a year Israel’s guns fall silent: on holocaust memorial day. Israel is nothing but an abused child revisiting that abuse upon it’s offspring.

        what the world gave Israel, Israel no longer deserves.

  7. Actually, I think it is a respecting Israeli sovereignty thing. And bare in mind that the governing regime in Gaza routinely executes or imprisons christians, muslims from differing sects, political opponents, homosexuals, feminists, and has spent the last few decades firing rockets on civilian targets in Jerusalem…not that I am taking a side here. I think both sides have their problem areas of behaviour towards the other.

    Some news reports here in Australia have suggested that the flotilla may have been a political stunt by Islamists from Turkey? Dunno for sure, though.

    1. I’m not taking sides or anything but anyone stupid enough to actually write that Palestinians regularly execute Christians or people from other sects is a complete douchebag.

      Geez. Australia, why am I not surprised?

      1. To be fair, Nater said “the ruling regime in Gaza”, referring to Hamas, not to Palestinians in general. Or were you referring to something else other than the comment at #12?

        1. Yeh, specifically referring to Hamas, the ruling regime in Gaza, not Palestinians as an ethnic group/nationality/whatever. And the comment was ‘executes or imprisons…’

          Resorting to insults seems to be the new thing round here. Don’t discuss or correct, just call people names. Clever. Helpful. Thanks mate!

    2. The news about Islamic nationalists and other factions from Turkey using the flotilla as a means of undercover transportation to Palestine is what we would politely call ”B… S…”

      The Israeli army still searches the ships for weapons yet they have not found anything worth mentioning, except for stones and sticks. The only thing on the ships were aid supplies such as toys, food and other building materials etc.I can speak very freely because I know friends who have family members on the ships.

      Eventhough Israel and Palestine have both commited violent and cruel acts in the past,this event, as it is unacceptable, will most likely be the beginning of the end for Israel’s power in the middleeast and its support from the U.S.A.

  8. Not sure why the Israeli soldiers felt the need to storm the boat, fully armed, in the middle of the night in international waters.

    Surely if they were really suspicious they would use their navy to block the boat, or perhaps even ask their good friends the UK government to assist with the search since the Freegaza movement is mostly British-based.

    We don’t have all the information yet, but this event is already speaking volumes about Israel’s tactics. Shame it rarely makes the news when it’s just Palestinians suffering. 19 deaths is a good day in Gaza!

    1. The Israeli embassy in Australia in a news interview hear disputes the International Waters thing. Also claims that the flotilla was repeatedly asked to stand down as it approached the blockade, but did not respond or comply, resulting in a Police Action. According to the Israelis, people on board one of the boats fired the first shot.

      I think maybe waiting a few days to make judgements may be a good idea, since there is only one piece of evidence available so far. Israel had journalists on Naval ships and have also video’d what they are calling a police action.

      1. Kind of a catch 22 isn’t it? The more you mess with someone else, the more they want to get back and you. I can’t condone suicide bombers or terrorist strikes, but I can definitely condone strong reaction to years of repression.

    2. You’re absolutely right about reporting on Palestine though, it’s funny how the western media is only interested if the people dying are Journos or whites (including Israelis) but don’t really care that much if some ‘brownie’ country has a daily civillian death toll in the dozens from shrapnel and gunshot wounds.

      Sigh, I can’t help but feel that some balanced and honest reporting would mean that regular people could understand just how complex the Israel/Palestine problem is.

      Because yes, the Palestinian people should be able to live safe and peaceful lives, and so should Jewish Israelis, but on both sides there are politicians distorting the truth and brainwashing their ‘constituents’ (for want of a better word) into HATING the other side, and then the guns and bombs from both sides, then the western media spent the 1980’s supporting Israel, but now seem to have swung to chastising Israel, and the welfare of the regular people that are stuck in the middle doesn’t seem to matter regardless.

      Sorry for the length. I just want everybody to be friends, so that no single extra person has to die over politics or religion. We should ALL be able to grow old and smelly and die an undignified senile death….

      1. Only “Jewish Iraelis”, Nater?

        PS IIRC:
        Turkish (or Swedish, or American, or Israeli) flagged vessel = Turkish (or Swedish, Or American, Or Israeli) sovereign territory,
        whilst in International Waters.

        So I understand the necessity of proving that these ships were within Israeli waters: otherwise, these Israeli Commando attacks are acts of War, and of Piracy.

        But the Americans ( and many others too) know more about the Law of the Sea, and the Rights of Free Passage over and through International Waters, than I do.

        1. *Warning*
          Comments by this commenter may not list every single racial group, religious faith, political inclination or sexual orientation of every single individual person currently or formerly residing in the Nation of Israel (formerly known as Palestine, now incorporating the region known as The Gaza Strip and also incorporating the area known as The West Bank). This commenter may also make spelling errors, generalise dates and statistics, and may come off as a soft liberal with some socialist leanings. The commenter is aware in his real life that there is more to the issue he is commenting on that the things he types into the comments box, and is not implying that the only interests in the issue are the ones he specifically lists. These comments represent the opinions of one slightly overweight Australian of Chinese and European descent and should not be used in making policy or monetary decisions unless explicitly stated otherwise.

          Am I ok now?

    3. Anon, assuming you’re talking about the United States when you say “we”, it’s currently about $3 billion/year on average. Total federal tax receipts for this year were about $2.3 trillion, so military aid to Israel wouldn’t really show up on a pie chart.

  9. I see that they jammed all communications when they attacked these ships in international waters just as they did when they attacked the USS Liberty in international waters and killed 39 American sailors.

    1. “I see that they jammed all communications when they attacked these ships in international waters just as they did when they attacked the USS Liberty in international waters and killed 39 American sailors.”

      funny enough a survivor of the USS Liberty was aboard the flottila. fkin hippie.

    1. Yeah, don’t those silly protesters know that when the mighty IDF illegally board their ship they’re supposed to cower in fear and submit?

      Thanks for the IDF propaganda, though.

    2. Oh wow…
      Let’s see: people watching some military commando boarding the ship, responding with poles & chairs, got killed by this commando…
      If this video is showed on support of israeli action, is lame at best. When I see this on protestors all over the world (the poles, the stone throwing, the chairs) only in a few times the actual force is:
      a) the military
      b) using letal force to “defend” itself
      Only shame on the goverment (and some people) of Israel, who have suffered so much in the past, for perptuating the very practices they had suffered before.

    3. Looks like a booze cruise gone MTV Jersey Shore. So much religion, so much nonsense.

    4. Oooh those poor soldiers, trying to hijack a ship in international waters and the passengers and crew fight back. How dare they defend themselves from pirates!

      I see that comments were disabled for that video. I wonder why?

  10. I think this highlights a point that I’ve been making for years: Israel is too trigger happy.

    Don’t get me wrong; they were a nation formed out of hardship, and had to fight several wars at impossible odds to retain their sovereignty. And you know what, good on them for it.

    But times have changed. Tempers have cooled, attempts at peace have been made, and Israel’s uncompromising attitude towards mitigating hostilities in the middle east are not helping them. Indeed, public opinion is starting to turn away from Israel due to events like this.

    Israel tends to forget that they’re not the only dog in the kennel, but they’re keenly aware that they’re the one with the strongest bite.

  11. I suspect that the Israeli government has already decided that it can no longer depend upon the United States as a guarantor of Israel’s security. The statements of the US administration have contributed to that decision.

    Therefore Israel has determined that it must take matters into its own hands. Is that a good thing, or not?

  12. Israel is and has been in a damed if you do/don’t situation especially since 1967 when it was blockaded in by Egypt.
    Say what you like about the right to a Palestinian state in the territory Jordan and Egypt lost in their 1967 attack, nobody wants a Hamas state within rifle and rocket range of a major metropolis. What would the UK, US, or even Brazil or Burma do after years of daily rocket and mortar attacks from territory they have already pulled out of?
    How does this relate to the flotilla?
    The stated intent was to break through and land on sovereign Israeli land, which Gaza has been since the peace treaty Egypt signed ending the war. The quote from the flotilla organizers was that the flotilla would win if it were allowed to land and it would win if it were intercepted.
    Israel clearly doesn’t want to send troops into Gaza to arrest the flotilla or any other reason even to stop constant rocket and mortar fire, hence the withdrawal, it is dangerous for the Israeli soldiers, and their presence on the ground in Gaza means the residents are also in danger should they be attacked.

    #3 I agree that the bribes/aid Israel and Egypt receive for signing the Camp David peace treaty are a problem and should be discontinued. It is the US profiteering off of the arms race.

    #6 I fail to see where the Holocaust is involved here except as an attempt by the flotilla to link their cause to that of an elderly survivor. THe existence of Israel has nothing to do with the holocaust except in the mind of the American President.

    My college experience in the US was that Americans and Europeans mostly dislike to hate Jews and Arabs; both being considered dark skinned sub-humans worthy of no more than a genocidal war to the finish eliminating both peoples and leaving behind the oil. At least with the Arabs in university or the Palestinians who I now frequently encounter while cycling and speak to with I can have a conversation. We mostly don’t agree on land politics except the problem of outsiders meddling in our business and profiting wildly from our blood that is shed.

    While it has no direct bearing on this story it does inform us the character of the official players. In Tel-Aviv and even conservative Jerusalem they have gay pride parades but in Gaza and even moderate Ramalla homosexuality is a capitol offense where the death sentence is actually carried out.

    After our experience of pulling out of Lebanon fully and a few years later coming under fire from that territory from thousands of high powered artillery rockets forcing the evacuation of the northern 1/3 of the country many feel we are in the same position with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Even the PA says they now plan to negotiate with the US not Israel and Hamas has always declared all of Israel to be their sovereign right. How can we even try to negotiate with parties who wish to see us thrown out of the UN or obliterated.

    I would ask you how would you solve this problem, although I fear the answer would be nuclear carpet bombing of the whole middle east.

    1. It takes only two clicks from the original post here on BB to reach the mission statement of the “Free Gaza Movement”, and a quick mouse gesture enables one to reach item number six:

      “6. We recognize the right of all Palestinian refugees and exiles and their heirs to return to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories; to recover their properties, and to receive compensation for damage, dispossession and unlawful use of such property. This is an individual and not a collective right, and cannot be negotiated except by the individual.”

      So the “Free Gaza Movement” has objectives that extend a good deal beyond the provision of humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza. They appear to be yet another group dedicated to the idea that Israel, as a Jewish homeland, should simply stop existing.

      Why am I not surprised by this???

      1. Why do you assume that this would lead to the elimination of Israel? Did the fall of the Berlin war lead to the destruction of Germany? Did the end of apartheid herald even more internal conflicts in South Africa? Did the unification of the north and the south American states result in more violence? Why do you assume that people living side by side not separated by a one-side military force and walls will be worse than it is today?

        1. Why do you assume that this would lead to the elimination of Israel?

          Because Arabs outnumber Jews, and have a higher birthrate? Because the official policy, and popular sentiment, of Israel’s neighbors is that Israel should not exist? It’s not paranoia if people really are out to kill you.

          If you run a naval blockade, you risk being stopped by military force. Duh. And if you object to the blockade, well, Hamas controls Gaza, and their official policy is the destruction of Israel. If you don’t want your neighbors to blockade you, you could always try, you know, not vowing their destruction.

          1. “Arabs […] have a higher birthrate…”

            Way to go with that subtle racism! Keep it up and triple-K will be accept you as an honorary member in no time!

            “Because Arabs outnumber Jews?”

            And the french outnumber belgians by a six to one ratio, despite the open border the belgians do not seem to be protesting too much. The Vatican City has been independent for almost twice as long as Israel and with a surrounding population of non-Vaticans of about 2000 times the population of Vatican City. Open borders and all – it is not likely to just perish under its external population.

            Do you or Israel have any facts to back up your claims that the ships were carrying anything illegal into non-Israeli territory that warranted military action?

          2. “Because Arabs outnumber Jews, and have a higher birthrate? Because the official policy, and popular sentiment, of Israel’s neighbors is that Israel should not exist? It’s not paranoia if people really are out to kill you.”

            Didn’t the same circumstances apply in South Africa?

          3. Well, not exactly. AFAIK the official policy of South Africa’s neighbors wasn’t to eliminate the country of South Africa, nor to expel or kill every white person there. And if you want to make analogies to apartheid, take a look at how Jews or Christians are treated in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. Arabs in Israel have it far better.

            Niklas: why is mentioning a birthrate disparity “racism”? It’s a demographic fact. I’m pointing out reasons Israelis feel threatened, and that’s one of them. And your examples are inapt, because in those cases the bordering/surrounding majority is not sworn to eliminate the minority.

            Antinous: I don’t see how Israel’s actions are anything close to a “genocide.” They used to occupy Gaza, and then they moved out. That seems to disprove any genocidal intent.

            The “right of return” is just absurd at this point, and should be dropped. The colonized lands of the Middle East got divvied up by the UN after WWII, and the Jews got a tiny slice of it. Partitions are always problematic, but get over it already. Lots of Jews lost their land and possessions (and lives) in Arab countries. If the Palestinians want peace (arguable), they should just recognize Israel’s right to exist and put their energies into growing food rather than building rockets and bombs and hating Jews. Unfortunately for them, blaming all their problems on other people makes it easier for their gangster rulers to keep power.

          4. “AFAIK the official policy of South Africa’s neighbors wasn’t to eliminate the country of South Africa,”

            Mostly because it was propping up client regimes in most of the neighboring countries, as far north as Angola.

            “nor to expel or kill every white person there.”

            Not this, but to the best of my knowledge none of the neighboring regimes have called for that, although certain individuals did so, such as one Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. These kinds of attitudes can spread, or die off, within a few decades, and these conflicts reinforce these kinds of attitudes.

          5. Whilst it is comforting to believe that lower orders like Muslims or Catholics breed in an unsportsmanlike way to win the war, the truth seems to be that poverty, disease and early death leads to large families whereas with increasing prosperity and social stability, family sizes decrease (go find Hans Rosling’s stunning TEDtalk if you don’t believe me).

            So on this count as on many others, Israel is behaving stupidly by starving them in the ghettos.

          6. I claim my right to call your argument racist because you did not supply any sources (not even unsourced numbers!), and especially because included people living in nations such as Morocco, Tunisia (both Arab countries with notable Jewish communities) and Sudan without any reason. The only reason Arabs even are discussed is because you used that wide label by dragging them into this discussion to prove a point to high and mighty self.

            Even if you make this out to be a Muslim versus Jews conflict you should bear in mind that only about 75% of the worlds muslims do not live in the Arab world.

          7. You could also use the same justification for vigilantes slaughtering Mexicans in cities where they are common.

            The fact is that if you treat people like animals without any rights you will not get a docile population, you will get a powderkeg that is waiting for the first spark to explode.

            It is horribly ironic that the closer the Israelis get to creating their own concentration camps the less they seem to care. It reminds me of hearing about how children who were molested have a greater risk of becoming molesters themselves.

          8. > Because Arabs outnumber Jews? Because the official policy, and popular sentiment, of Israel’s neighbors is that Israel should not exist? It’s not paranoia if people really are out to kill you.

            If the people of the region want the land to be governed in a particular way, shouldn’t they be allowed to try to democratically make that change?

            If Israel stopped with its campaign of apartheid, lots of Arabs would move into Israeli neighborhoods. They would vote and Arabs would be elected. With Arab participation, national policies would change. Eventually, Israel as it exists today would be gone by democratic means. Some may think this is good, others will think its bad. Regardless, if this is the will of the people who live there, so be it.

        2. Why do you assume that this would lead to the elimination of Israel?

          Because Arabs outnumber Jews? Because the official policy, and popular sentiment, of Israel’s neighbors is that Israel should not exist? It’s not paranoia if people really are out to kill you.

          If you run a naval blockade, you risk being stopped by military force. Duh. And if you object to the blockade, well, Hamas controls Gaza, and their official policy is the destruction of Israel. If you don’t want your neighbors to blockade you, you could always try, you know, not vowing their destruction.

      2. “This is an individual and not a collective right, and cannot be negotiated except by the individual.”

        Seems to me that the emphasis on individual not collective rights, implies that this is not a matter of statehood, but instead something that needs to be rectified on a case by case basis. A process of reconciliation if you wil.

    2. The “damed if you do/don’t situation” stems from the fact that some people only knows two possible solutions: Eliminate Palestine or the elimination of Israel. None of those is a real solution.

    3. Rebdav: THe existence of Israel has nothing to do with the holocaust except in the mind of the American President.

      This would come as a surprise to most of my relatives, as well as pretty much all of my teachers and fellow students in the Labor Zionist day school I attended as a kid. I constantly heard, growing up in the 1970s, that Diaspora Jews needed to support Israel because it was the one place Jews could go if another Shoah happened.

    4. “…after years of daily rocket and mortar attacks from territory they have already pulled out of?”

      But still control every border of and the airspace above, maintain strict control over what supplies are allowed in, and occasional decimate with an incredibly asymmetric military action (ala January of 2009).

      Never a one-sided conflict, sure, but come on.

      And that bit about gays is irrelevant. Smear campaign? As far as I know, forced poverty and political oppression have never been rodes to a more progressive world-view. So if such is your concern, some other tactic may be more appropriate.

      1. No, that gay bit was in response to my comment about Hamas behaviour, ie execution of anyone who is not their brand of muslim, anyone who opposes them politically, homosexuals, feminists, anyone who doesn’t want to continue with suicide attacks or rocket attacks on Israel, anyone who doesn’t want to see all Jews wiped of the face of the earth etc.

        Not a smear compaign, an unfortunate reality for Palestinians living under Hamas rule in Gaza.

        1. Here’s the quote:

          “While it has no direct bearing on this story it does inform us the character of the official players. In Tel-Aviv and even conservative Jerusalem they have gay pride parades but in Gaza and even moderate Ramalla homosexuality is a capitol offense where the death sentence is actually carried out.”

          Note that first sentence. And it’s not listed as a response to anything.

          I do understand…I’m not an apologist for any hateful or mind-twisting religion. But in this context is smack of vilifying the victims…always a useful strategy for the victimizers.

          1. Yep. That’s what I took to be in response to my comment:

            And bare in mind that the governing regime in Gaza routinely executes or imprisons christians, muslims from differing sects, political opponents, homosexuals, feminists, and has spent the last few decades firing rockets on civilian targets in Jerusalem

            I might be wrong that rebdav was continuing with the discussion I started? If I am, apologies.

          2. No worries either way.

            My point is that, to me, calling to attention the human-rights failings of Hamas in response to an event such as this is suspicious.

            If this event is what it seems (IDF claims not-withstanding), then we have an incident in which Israeli forces were clearly in the wrong, and acted only to further the suffering of many innocent people.

            To say in response to such a thing that some of those who will suffer/are suffering are intolerant bigots seems to me to be an attempt at vilifying the victims. As I said.

            And such vilification has always been a necessary condition for systematic oppression and/or murder (Africans, Native Americans, Jews, South East Asian….). You must see them as “less than” in order to make the abuses they suffer ok.

            It just seems strange in this context. Thanks.

          3. Well, my comment was to try to provide some context as to why Israel responds the way it does to Hamas specifically. So it is pretty relevant from my perspective. Again, not vilification, it’s a statement that illustrates an aspect of the regime that is being blockaded, to help people understand WHY it is being blockaded.

            If it makes you feel any better about it though:

            Israel pipes water out of aquifers in Palestinian areas, underground, to fill swimming pools that disallow people to enter based on their ethnic origin (ie they are Jew Only swimming centres) while the Palestinian people in those areas can no longer access water because the aquifers are being drained. And some Jews want all Christians expelled from Israel.

            There, balance!!

            I really am going now.

        2. I fully agree on your stance on Hamas, they are are not democratic or open to others view on the world and are likely responsible for well over the majority of all attacks on Israel.

          But this is a 100% win for Hamas since for all we know all they were doing was waiting for medical supplies and food. Unless Israel have some very, very strong evidence to show in the near future Hamas will have scored a major propaganda win and therefore peace in the region will be even harder to reach.

          1. Therein lies the problem, that real progress can’t be made because the people in charge seem to be hell bent on destruction of the other side. On both sides. Propaganda rather than fact is the order of the day. Hamas can’t even be decent to the people it supposedly represents, while Israel punishes the people who have no say against maniacs with guns and bombs. It’s so frightening, I feel ill.

            I am so glad I live far away from all of this. When you hear these kinds of stories, it makes you very greatful that your life is so goshdarned simple, and peaceful.

    5. “What would the UK, US, or even Brazil or Burma do after years of daily rocket and mortar attacks from territory they have already pulled out of?”

      Well the Burmese would probably kill everyone and doubtless act worse. They wouldn’t post video evidence to YouTube.

      As for a democratic society like the UK, we obviously existed in Northern Ireland when a significant proportion of the population wanted us to withdraw completely. While the IRA was bombing the UK, Sinn Fein continued to operate as a political party. Our only censor of them was the rather absurd rule that Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein politicians could not have their voices broadcast. So when they read out a statement, it had to be readout in voiceover by someone from the telly. Not sure if they were worried that Adam’s dulcet tones would insight civil war.

      Anyway, like Hamas not recognizing Israel, they had a confrontational political position, and regularly bombed civilian centres with some devastating casualties. They had much support within mainland Ireland, and it never crossed our minds to get hostile with Ireland. Indeed, it should be remembered how supportive many Americans were of the IRA’s terrorism. Even now – a friend from London in Vegas recently spotted an ‘Irish Carbomb’ on a cocktail menu and was tempted to ask for a ‘Twin Towers’ but thought better of it.

      Regardless, while the bombs in shopping centres and pubs were exploding, John Major’s government held secret discussions with the Provs, and the Blair government of 97 brought these into the open. A political process began, the IRA put asides their weapons, and most groups have now decommissioned. The peace process worked.

      Israel’s behavior is not just ugly and bad PR, it also reduces the likelihood of ever achieving peace and security there, while making the positions of anyone of Jewish descent the world over less pleasant, as they once more must battle to convince their colleagues that they do not have the IDF’s blood on their hands, that not everyone is a far right zionist. Israel’s behavior endangers Jews, destabilizes a country that is lucky to be allowed to exist and uses God’s name as an excuse to impoverish and terrorize those who have lived on the land for centuries.

  13. Israel, you were the kid that came from nowhere. You seemed like a miracle and everybody loved you.

    Now you are the spoilt thug of the world. It doesn’t matter what you claim about this: even if it is true, nobody is going to believe you this time.

    Utterly disgusting.

    …and if that’s all emotion and no sense, heck, it’s the way I feel.

  14. Bah. “Israelis”, not “Iraelis”.
    Point: religious discrimination when it comes to the incidents of Citizenship – of any kind – is pernicious and unjust.
    In Iran, in Iraq, in Canada, or in Israel.

  15. If the flotilla was carrying anything illegal into Israeli territory, why did Israel use the navy and not Police to arrest the smugglers?

  16. According to the Wikipedia article, at least five of the people onboard the flotilla were members of parliament of different countries (as well as one Nobel Peace Prize laureate and one popular author of crime-novels which when dramatized occasionally star Kenneth Branaugh), including one Arab member of the Knesset. That’s right, Israeli military attacked a boat and killed people on it when on the people on it could have been a member of the Israeli parliment (of a different party than the government, of course). On international waters. On a boat carrying humanitarian aid.

    This story makes me physically ill.

  17. Glenn Greenwald @ http://bit.ly/d99deB: “It hardly seemed possible for Israel — after its brutal devastation of Gaza and its ongoing blockade — to engage in more heinous and repugnant crimes. But by attacking a flotilla in international waters carrying humanitarian aid, and slaughtering at least 10 people, Israel has managed to do exactly that.”

  18. “6. We recognize the right of all Palestinian refugees and exiles and their heirs to return to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories; to recover their properties, and to receive compensation for damage, dispossession and unlawful use of such property. This is an individual and not a collective right, and cannot be negotiated except by the individual.”

    I’m unclear on exactly what part of people getting their stolen land and property back you find problematic. Israeli settlers dispossess Palestinians and bulldoze their homes every day of the week and Israel lets it happen. Should the Palestinians just wait until the process is complete and there’s a nice Palestinian genocide memorial for tourists to photograph?

    1. This language is effectively the same as the “right of return” language which caused both the Oslo accords and the 2000 Camp David summit to fail.

      The reason is that it does not refer to what happened in the 2000’s, or the 1990’s, or in 1973, or in 1967. It refers to what happened in 1947 and 1948.

      Anyone who believes it would be a good thing for Israel to return to its pre-1947 borders is certainly entitled to join with the “Free Gaza Movement” in its advocacy of the “right of return”.

      They would, however, be disingenuous to deny that that would be the result.

    2. I think the problem is the precedent it sets. Much of the world is built upon conquered civilizations. Shit happens. I wouldn’t have a problem with a compensation plan, but repatriation (or whatever the right word would be) can’t happen.

      What’s next? Should Manhattan be returned to the descendants of the original inhabitants? Should Texas, Arizona and a big chunk of California become part of Mexico? Should Tibet be freed?

      1. Not this old canard. For a start the colonisation of Palestine is in living memory, for a second there was no conquest (at least officially Israel has always denied accusations of ethnic cleansing) and finally, the reunion of East and West Germany has shown that dispossession can be compensated without causing total disaster.

        1. I don’t think I was clear about my shit happens comment.

          I don’t think you can undo what has happened with Israel. There’s no ctrl-z here. At some point, creating Israel must have seemed like a good idea, at least to some. But two or three generations have passed and I think it would be a difficult argument to make that Israel has been a success or that it just needs more time.

          The top down approach has been tried and has failed (IMHO). Give up. Stop apartheid and let democracy take over. Let the people of the region choose their government. That’s probably going to mean Israel disappears. So be it.

  19. So Israel is enforcing a “national diet plan” in Palestine, eh?

    What is next? Will them be sent to “summer camps” with “wonderful holistic showers” that expel “funny gas”?

    /sarcasm

    So, Israel seems to have a “charte blaque” to kill anybody all around the world for them to starve to death millions of palestinian children and women (because to Israel, all palestinian males ARE terrorist*)

    *-This may also include little girls with school backpacks (just shoot the entire magazine to the head to be sure)

  20. While all this mindbogglingly inane discussion keeps happening all over the world -here in argentina too- , the US and EU keep pouring money at the IDF so they can get proper fuel training ammo and equipment.

    I’ve begun drafting a petition to force withdrawal any even remotely IDF-connected agreement so that at least I can be sure not even a freaking cent of my pocket will ever end up paying for guns.and would appreciate it if everyone else should if possible also try doing the same thing or whatever is applicable under their own countries legislation;
    maybe we could even host them anywhere free so that it can be properly modified by whoever feels like so.

  21. Turkish ship, wasn’t it? In international waters? That’s getting very, very close to an act of war against a NATO country. Someone, somewhere will be getting the tarps off some old cold war era accord paragraphs to see what applies and what doesn’t.

    Isn’t a captain duty bound to defend his ship if attacked in international waters? Even if the crew had responded to the attack with lethal force – which, as I understand it, they didn’t – they would have been well within their rights.

    Several scandinavians – writers, polticians, activists, union people – were on board. I’ve been looking at the nordic-language social networks, and you can pretty much cut the outrage with a machete. Not just on the left – scandinavians have a lot of heavy interest in ocean and shipping industry; even events that flaunts and erodes maritime law to to a much smaller degree than this one feels very personal to a lot of people with relatives at sea.

    In the end, this act is a stew of piracy, murder and a bare-faced moustache-twirling indecency to a degree that verges on parody. The suggestion that no one will be held responsbile is unbearable.

  22. The self-righteous flotilla was hoping for conflict & glory from the start, rather than attempting at innocent and honest help for the unfortunate Gazan Palestinians.
    Media tells us that the Israeli government had actually offered the ‘humanitarian’ mission explicit permission to dock in the Ashdod, Israel port, where the sovereign authorities could examine the supplies and make sure of their harmless contents, before passing them on to those in need. But that wouldn’t do for the hero/martyrs, they had to force their way as though there were no legitimate borders, or conflicts of interest, thinking that their ‘in your face’ actions would be justified disregarding. their blood is on their own heads, as the saying goes, or rather on their cynical leaders’ heads, hypocritical anti-semites all of ’em..

    1. There were no legitimate borders. Whatever motivations you might personally make up for these people, none of them can change that Israel attacked and killed civilians aboard a ship in international waters. Even if you could blame the victims, it wouldn’t remove all culpability from that.

    2. Wolf, you’re assuming their goal was to deliver aid. I don’t think it was. I think raising awareness and creating a horrible PR situation for Israel was their goal. I think they succeeded, but paid a steep price.

      I’m sure everybody on those boats knew that death was a possible outcome. This is just one move in a long campaign.

  23. And underlying all the politics and murder is the belief that one group of people’s imaginary friend is more real than the others’.
    Both these groups believe that god itself gave them the right to murder in its name.
    How many more thousands of years is the middle east going to destabilise the world with its childish, dangerous myths?

    1. “And underlying all the politics and murder is the belief that one group of people’s imaginary friend is more real than the others”

      You have to turn this into a chance to berate people for having religious beliefs. Besides which, the most common religions on each side worship the same deity, so your complaint doesn’t even make sense.

      1. Yes, perhaps the christian, muslim and jewish god is one deity, but they all give him a different name and ascribe to him a different character and set of laws. That’s what organised religious belief does. Then it sets those people against eachother.
        So don’t tell me that the thousands of years of conflict in the middle east up to the present is about anything other than religion.
        Land? Yes. Based on the assumption that it was given by god. Ergo; religion.

        1. It’s not primarily based on religion. The “thousands years of conflict” thing is a myth, in the sense that the Middle East has not had dramatically more conflict during that time period than anywhere else where there weren’t large states.

          For instance, central Europe has had wars more or less continuously from the fall of Rome down to the 1940s. Some like the Thirty Year war are were plainly caused by religion, but others plainly had other causes. The same thing is true for the fertile crescent.

  24. Re: the Gaza blockade.

    For the record, Israel allows all donated humanitarian aid into Gaza. Five of the six boats in the floatilla were ordered to dock at Ashdod (minutes away from Gaza) to have the cargo inspected before it was transferred; those boats complied, and there was no violence. Under international law it is legal for a sovereign country to enforce a blockade, even in international waters.

    The idea that Israel doesn’t allow aid into Gaza is simply false. Tens of thousands of tons of food, medicine, and fuel were sent into Gaza by Israel in 2008 (including DURING the war).

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2008/Israeli_humanitarian_aid_to_Gaza_31-Dec-2008.htm

    That link is from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, but even Al Jazeera reported this at the time, they literally showed video of dozens of Israeli trucks delivering aid into Gaza, and Al Jazeera is not exactly an Israeli propaganda tool. I’m sure the video is available somewhere, I invite anyone who doesn’t believe me to find it.

    Then in 2009, that amount increased by NINE HUNDRED PERCENT, according to an Italian NGO (note: link is in Italian).

    http://lessakele.over-blog.fr/ext/http://www.secondoprotocollo.org/wp-content/plugins/downloads-manager/upload/rapporto%20gaza%202010.pdf

    The distribution of that aid to Gazan civilians is controlled by Hamas, so it’s very possible that Gazans are starving, but it’s not because there’s nothing coming in. At one point the UN halted aid deliveries to Gaza because their convoys were coming under fire from Hamas.

    This floatilla, by the way, was organized by a group that is banned in Israel for having explicit ties to Hamas and Al Qaida. I think Israel reacted very badly here, but the whole thing was clearly orchestrated to provoke violence. It was a PR stunt intended discredit Israel, any and all casualties, while tragic, play right into the hands of Hamas, and that’s the really disgusting part.

    1. Anon said #75:

      Under international law it is legal for a sovereign country to enforce a blockade, even in international waters.

      That’s only true if the blockade was approved by the UN Security Council. This has not been. Whatever you might argue about the morality or politics of it, this was clearly an illegal action. If we consider this the Gaza Strip to be a part of Israel, then Israeli’s embargo would not legally be a blockade, but rather just policing its own territory. And if the attack on the vessels had occurred in its territorial waters, it could be considered legal. However, territorial waters go to 22km offshore and a further 22km can be policed by a nation when working against smugglers, etc. This was substantially and significantly outside of that area.

      Alternately, if we consider Gaza Strip to be de facto independent, then this would be a blockade, but as it has not been approved of by the UN Security Council, not a legal one.

      There are a lot of things which can be argued about this, but not its legality.

  25. “I think the problem is the precedent it sets. Much of the world is built upon conquered civilizations. Shit happens. I wouldn’t have a problem with a compensation plan, but repatriation (or whatever the right word would be) can’t happen.”

    Oh! Great! So stealing the land of others is OK then.

    Let’s invade Israel and kick everybody out.

    Anyway this is not their lands either. They stole it before. So?

  26. Israel could have been set up anywhere in the world, and they chose the Middle East. The Mormons had much better sense when it came time to pick real estate for themselves: Utah. When you can’t get along with your neighbors, sometimes the best choice is to relocate.

    1. There’s this big tract of land between France and Poland that would have been appropriate. It’s got seaports and everything. An anti-Semitic desire to push the Jews out of Europe seems to have been as big a factor in choosing Palestine as compassion for the victims of the holocaust.

      1. Are you seriously suggesting it would have been appropriate or even preferential for the Allies to displace 60+ million Germans from their homeland in order to create a Jewish state? Why would the Jews want to stay in Germany anyway?

        The British and Americans were directly responsible for a large number of Holocaust casualties by refusing Jews entrance into the US and Palestine. Therefore when it was in their power to restore the Jewish ancestral homeland, they did so out of guilt. And they had the right to do so; they owned the land.

        It’s not Israel’s fault that the Palestinians and the Arabs in general didn’t take kindly to their new neighbors. However Israel’s “attack first, ask questions later” is entirely their fault, and situations like this only serve to run their reputation farther into the ground.

        1. But it was appropriate to displace the people living in Palestine, though, since the US/UK “owned” the land, right? What exactly do you mean by “owned” anyway, as if colonization is a legitimate means of controlling territory… why was it legitimate for Europeans to have these mandates in the first place?

          As for building Israel in Europe, the face of Europe was remade by the allies at Yalta, wasn’t it? We came out with a divided continent, with half capitalist and half communist states. We handed Stalin Eastern Europe in compensation for the heavy losses of the Red army during the war. Do you think that the people of what became the Eastern Bloc/Warsaw pact countries, given the economic exploitation extracted by Stalin, would have liked a say in that? FYI – There were plenty of Zionist who floated that idea of building an Israel somewhere other than the Mid-East, including eventually Einstein. Things might have turned out better for everyone if those guys had won the argument.

          And for the record, I think the reason that Israelis neighbors do not take kindly to Israel is because they view it as a colonial state. You may disagree with that view, but that is how they feel about the situation. At one point does the point of view of the other nation-states become legitimate? When we, in the words of Ann Coulter, “invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity”? And it’s not like nearly every major player has not reached out in peace to the Israelis at this point (Iran and Syria excepted of course).

          Whatever you think of this situation, I think we can all agree that things are going to get real bad, real soon, thanks to these incident.

          1. Oops! Let me correct myself here… I meant “at what point”… Sorry.

            Oh, and Elleomnon, for the record, Atina Grossman argues that it was not the holocaust itself, but rather the 4 or 5 year period after the war — with Germany quartered, the various DP camps receiving refugees of all kinds,the mass rape of German women by the Red army (and a few other allied soldiers) as means of revenge, and, most importantly, the continuing antisemitism that Jews ran into on coming home in Germany and in Eastern Europe, which had some pretty infamous pogroms after the war, in poland specifically, I think — that was the real reason that the Zionists won the argument for a homeland in Palestine. Her book is a pretty amazing account of that period, and it really gets at a spot in history that few have given more than a cursory glance:

            http://www.amazon.com/Jews-Germans-Allies-Encounters-Occupied/dp/069114317X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275357231&sr=1-1

  27. I wonder why the humanitarian aid being sent to Gaza included firebombs:

    And why would any army send commandos with paintball guns who do not strike back even when severely beaten?

    1. “I wonder why the humanitarian aid being sent to Gaza included firebombs. And why would any army send commandos with paintball guns who do not strike back even when severely beaten?”

      WTF. You think they killed 10-19 people by not fighting back with paintball guns, while only 6 of them were injured? Seriously? Those are some deadly passive paint balls.

        1. I know that link you posted is totally objective because it starts with “Our Navy commandoes…”

        2. @Avi – I stand corrected, my sincere apologies, those apparently were paintball rifles. Thank you for the link, it broadened my perspective of the event.

          I’m still sad that so many people were killed when this could and should have been avoided, but that is another issue altogether and not one you raised.

  28. For those advocating return of the lands, how far back do you want to go? Because I hear the British would like to have the US back. Also, the Indians would like whitey out of the US. I’m quite sure the Turks would like back the Ottoman empire too. Or are we just talking Israel, because it’s “special”? The only difference is that unlike the US, the Israelis didn’t massacre the Palestinians wholesale.

    Trying to break through a military blockade like this has only one goal, which is to provoke action. Israel could either show that the blockade wasn’t real (lose) or stop the ships (lose). Great PR, if people don’t actually think about it.

    Why is it that whenever someone discusses the “Palestinians” they forget the Palestinian citizens of Israel who have voting rights, and all rights of citizenship. Heck, Israel had an Arab/Palestinian member of the Knesset (Congress) before the US had a Muslim one.

    Compare the Palestinian territories to Mexico, only with a stated intent to drive the Americans into the ocean, and you will have a better feel for the power dynamic. There are Mexican-Americans who are citizens, and there are Mexicans who are not citizens and don’t have the right of citizens.

    1. Going back as far as there are living people would definitely be appropriate. It’s more difficult to say anything beyond that, but in general, reparations are rarely such a terrible thing.

    2. “For those advocating return of the lands, how far back do you want to go? …. Or are we just talking Israel, because it’s “special”?”

      Israel is special because
      A. It happened after World War II
      B. There are still people with documentation and keys to their homes who cannot return to their homes
      C. There are more Palestinians than there are Israelis
      D. There are still people living in refugee camps waiting for a settlement.

      “There will be wars and wars and wars until Israel comes to terms with the Palestinians. The road to peace lies through the Palestinian refugee camp.”
      -I.F.Stone

      To those advocating a “Jordanian solution”. I’m currently living in Jordan. Jordan is the 4th water-poor country in the world. You might think that all Arabs want to push Israelis to the sea. Pushing all the Palestinians to the desert isn’t exactly humane either. 60% of the citizens here come from the other side of the Jordan river. Jordan absorbed hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees when they were kicked out of Kuwait in 1992. They received 500,000 Iraqi refugees in the past decade from the recent conflict. Jordan is a welcoming place, but it’s not a dumping ground for displaced people. People who lost their homes should be allowed to return. It’s their country too. That includes anyone who was forced or pressured from their homes in Yemen, Baghdad, Cairo, Tunis, or Morocco because of anti-Jewish violence.

  29. Can the US please stop acting like the Israel, especially the Likud party are legitimate peace partners? Can we please stop taking a page from Likud’s lobbying group AIPAC and stop conflating criticism of the actions and policies of a government as being anti-semetic?

    I feel that the foundation of Israel was one of the biggest mistakes of the 20th Century, and the last gasp of colonialism, but it’s too late to do anything about it now.

  30. I’m not accusing anybody of anything, but that video was all chopped up. What was left out, and why? The Israel govt./soldiers had to have known the encounter would be heavily documented and filmed. Would they really risk being filmed firing on innocents? I saw one guy in a lifejacket throwing something at a soldier and another scuffling with a soldier. Even if you believe was out of line to blockade and board your ship, what do you think is going to happen if you attack soldiers? Those soldiers had no idea what weapons the people on the ship may or may not have had. I guess your cause isn’t exciting if we only see soldiers boarding the ship, inspecting it, and sending it back or taking it into custody. It’s more dramatic provoke soldiers into firing on you. I could be all wrong, but I hope that footage that truly shows the situation from all sides materializes.

    Also, Israel IS a democracy. Arabs living there can vote anyone they want to into office, including other Arabs. Has Israel ever been accused of vote fraud or preventing all of its citizens to vote? If you say yes, please cite your source.

    Israelis took a desert and turned it into a lush, thriving, first world, free speech, democratic nation. Its neighbors, who have had much more time on much more land, with the benefit of lots and lots of oil money and support of each other, haven’t ben able to do the same. What’s up with that? And please don’t give America all the credit for this (though some is certainly due).

    P.S. Why haven’t any of their Arab brothers offered to take in Palestinians, especially Jordan, which is where most of them are from? Wouldn’t they want to live in a culture closer to their own, where there is such an abundance of land and opportunities?

    1. Of course, you are going to tell me that the Mighty Israel had no mean to escort and board that ship in a manner that would avoid the bloodshed…

      They wanted what happened.

      The problem is never solved in the Mid-East because it is way too useful to both parties.

    2. Their “Arab brothers” haven’t helped because they aren’t. Most of them are completely separate nations, without any direct ties to the Palestinians, who lived someplace else. If you can understand why British and Germans ever quarreled, then surely you can understand why Egyptians and Palestinians might not be willing to cede lands to one another.

      Besides, I suspect most Palestinians aren’t too willing to leave the place they were born and grew up. It’s understandable; many of us would feel the same way.

    3. “Israelis took a desert and turned it into a lush, thriving, first world, free speech, democratic nation.”

      y r thr gnrnt r rtrdd. palestine was far from a desert long before the foundation of israel. actually it was famous since ancient times for its orange gardens and olive trees. many have called it a “blessed land” in litterature. rd bk vry nc n whl, t hlps.

      1. “you are either ignorant or retarded. palestine was far from a desert long before the foundation of israel. actually it was famous since ancient times for its orange gardens and olive trees. many have called it a “blessed land” in litterature [sic]. read a book every once in a while, it helps.”

        I have read a book or two in my life.

        By the way, intellectual snobbery is more believable when you can spell.

        1. so you read Twain. and? sorry about the spelling you are right about that, but you still remain ignorant and retarded if you think that palestine was a desert and israeli zionists transformed it in a paradise.

  31. Hey Happy Mutants!
    Please give a thought to others instead of playing “Imsofuckingcoolontehinternet”
    And think.
    My good friend Alxeandra Lort Phillips (Lorty) is on the Mavi Marmara .worried. no contact no twitter
    really fuckin worried.

  32. For the Israel is innocent trolls:

    ‘…Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said the country was prepared to stop the flotilla “at any cost”…’

    Israel has said the humanitarian aid will be unloaded in Israel, checked for banned items, and then sent on to the Gaza via the UN.

    The following article provides some information as to permitted v. banned items re the Gaza (http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=1154&CategoryId=3.)

    ‘…The few items merchants are allowed to trade in are divided into three categories: food, medicine and detergent. Everything else is forbidden – including building materials (which are necessary to rehabilitate Gaza’s ruins and rebuild its infrastructure), electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, spare machine and car parts, fabrics, threads, needles, light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, cutlery, crockery, cups, glasses and animals. Many of the banned products are imported through the tunnels and can be found in Gaza’s markets.

    Pasta, which had been forbidden in the past, is now allowed, after U.S. Senator John Kerry expressed his astonishment at the ban during a visit to Gaza in February. But tea, coffee, sausages, semolina, milk products in large packages and most baking products are forbidden. So are industrial commodities for manufacturing food products, chocolate, sesame seeds and nuts. Israel does allow importing fruit, milk products in small packages and frozen food products as well as limited amounts of industrial fuel…’

    To some the ban of musical instruments may appear insignificant, but what of Israel’s ban on hearing aids..

    And it was only this past Monday that Israel lifted its ban on shoes and clothes. Lentils, tomato paste, cilantro, margarine, fresh meat, vinegar, jam, honey etc., are still on the banned list. The list goes on and on

    TL:DR

    Israel bans imports in Gaza of chocolate, sesame seeds,lentils, tomato paste, cilantro, margarine, fresh meat, vinegar, jam, honey,musical instruments, hearing aids, tea, coffee, sausages, semolina, milk products in large packages and most baking products. So even if they let the flottila in they would not allow any of these products in. are they afraid of WEAPONIZED CHOCOLATE? WTF? or they have just become what they say they hate more?

  33. Israelis took a desert and turned it into a lush, thriving, first world, free speech, democratic nation.

    You have a very exotic view of democracy. The majority of Israeli citizens, who are in fact sane, need to take their country back from a government that exists for the benefit of a minority of racist, religious extremists.

  34. “Israelis took a desert and turned it into a lush, thriving, first world, free speech, democratic nation.”

    Yup, they’re the Bugsy of the Middle East.

    1. don’t worry Israel is a Democracy after all. What can happen to him/her? Worst case scenario he/she gets shot for importing pasta to Gaza a territory that is totally not occupied by Israel (their words not mine they insist that they are NOT occupying the strip). And after all he/she deserves it as a self righteous prick that has no right entering a totaly free and non occupied by Israel territory.

      1. I hope to fuck that you are being somekindo ironic
        zio. but,anyway
        “Christ,What an asshole.”

        1. yeh mate it is called sarcasm. i have a friend on board there and i was also sprayed with chemicals earlier when i went to protest in front of the israeli embassy (ironically it was israeli made anti riot gas).

          also your blasphemy is misplaced i do not believe in christ.

  35. 13 UK Volunteers Missing after Israeli Attack on Free Gaza Flotilla
    May 31, 2010

    These are the names of 13 British people captured or injured in the Israeli assault which took place in the early hours of this morning aboard the Turkish Humanitarian ship “Mavi Marmara”.

    MISSING VOLUNTEERS
    Sarah Colbourne
    Hassan Ghani
    Kevin Ovenden
    Alex Phillips (Lorty)
    Nader Daher
    Nicola Enchmarch
    Alex Harrison
    Ismail Patel
    Sidique Hajee
    Ibrahim Musaji*
    Peter Viner
    Mohammed Bayyat
    Ashan Shamrak

    Call The Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London 020 7008 1500 and provide the names as above as missing.

    As far as we know our colleagues are not injured.

    Urgent help is requested by everyone to alert the FCO in London, demand that a safe passage for these innocent people is immediately made. Demand that they are all treated fairly and are all provided with medical assistance. Demand that the FCO are provided with proof by the Israeli government that these people are all safe and demand their whereabouts now!

    *Ibrahim Musaji is a Gloucester-based activist who has helped GPSC on several occasions with events/leafleting. We hope and pray for his safe return.
    THIS IS NOT FUNNY.

  36. Nater,
    wipe the plegm of yer lips step back and look around.
    It is not all about you.

  37. So the rule you want is that any time the country was created after 1945, or any territory was involved in war and the borders changed, we’re going to reverse that? Because that’s going to lead to some very entertaining map redrawing.

  38. I am sick of the full-on Israeli PR campaign trying to defend an obviously ham-fisted overreaction to an aid ship approaching a blockade. The fact of the matter is an IDF military action on this vessel in international waters was entirely unnecessary, if not illegal. The Israeli government should never have put those soldiers in that position, and no one should have died.

  39. Israel has forced Irish people, on an Irish ship which had not gotten close to the blockade, was hours behind the leaders and was still significantly out in international water, to land in Israel and is now charging them with illegally landing in their country and trying to deport them for this.

    This is piracy and kidnapping.

    Everything else is rhetoric.
    Do you think we don’t understand terror and violence?

  40. It isn’t always illegal to board a ship in “international waters.”

    BTW, why is the uncommon phrase “international waters” found all over the commentary? A Google check of Usenet found 7990 uses of the phrase over the past two days and 499 uses over the preceding two days. Instances of the phrase are a dime a dozen and I’d like to know who’s supplying the dimes.

    1. Personally, I’m going off this article and various other news sources purporting this action to have occurred in “international waters.” More precisely, this article says it happened 100 km off the coast of Israel (which is actually 60 miles and not 70). My understanding is you are in international waters outside of 12 miles off the coast of a nation. So.. it’s very clearly international waters where this happened if that distance is true. It’s sheer spin to try to put that into question, facts being as they are. So, I suppose Yahweh is supplying the dimes, if you must use an analogy of currency to imply it’s being made up. It really doesn’t look good on the interdicting party when you have a Nobel laureate and a holocaust survivor on board a vessel that is interdicted. Somehow I do not think Israel has the moral highground allowing for a generous interpretation of reality in this case.

      1. Actually, I was questioning the similarity of the rhetoric, not the particular fact that the ship was in international waters. I’ve noticed another similarity: The propaganda almost always mentions a Nobel laureate on board but usually doesn’t say who. (I would think of this as a black mark against the Nobel Peace Prize … if I had retained any respect for them at all.) This is a trivial point, but scholars tracing which manuscript was copied from which use similar trivial points.

        Maybe I’ll start comparing spelling errors next…

        1. I don’t understand, are you trying to paint a picture of some sort of propagandist conspiracy, or are you just making sure media outlets accurately report the facts and track their sources? I really hope you find some cases of plagiarism, that’d end up being pretty embarrassing for someone. Be careful – thousands of newspapers and websites use the same articles distributed by outlets like the Associated Press, Reuters and Knight-Ridder, sometimes with slight editing. You can identify those articles by the bylines. If you find some with mis-attributed bylines – whoa-ho-ho – turn those plagiarists in.

          Please let us know if you find articles using a term like “no man’s sea” instead of something like “international waters.” Because if that aid flotilla was in no man’s sea, well, no wonder it got assaulted. Danger’s expected there.

          PS – To save you some time, the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor supposedly amongst the people in the flotilla was Hady Epstein. Not all the articles mention her by name, but I don’t take that as a black mark against all Holocaust survivors.

  41. Wow. You have lots of posters from the Hasbara brigade today, Boing Boing.
    I’ve looked at the videos showing people on board attacking the commands. It immediately called to mind ‘You brought a club to a gunfight, boyo.’ Watching this I thought to myself, This is the crew. And something set them off. I wonder if a beloved 1st or 2nd mate got killed while the gunships & helicopters were raking the ship with gunfire? The crew then snapped, attacked the commandos, & that’s why there are 19 dead. Clubs & chairs don’t really stand up to assault rifles.
    This is probably the last hurrah for Israel, mainly due to what John Mearsheimer says here
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/if-the-lobby-wants-to-save-the-zionist-dream-it-needs-mearsheimer-and-the-realists.html

  42. zio_donnie,

    Your use of sarcasm was unsuccessful.

    All,

    Please compose yourselves.

  43. Are you seriously suggesting it would have been appropriate or even preferential for the Allies to displace 60+ million Germans from their homeland in order to create a Jewish state?

    Europeans (and Russians and others) have been obsessing about The Jewish Question for centuries. This was an opportunity to just ship Jews out of Europe. The fact that the people who they were going to supplant were in no position to stop a decision backed by the big Western powers is the frosting on the imperialist cake.

    And, yes, it would have been completely appropriate to give Jews a big slice of Germany. Why should the people who perpetrated the holocaust get to rebuild their nation while the Palestinians have theirs taken away. It’s nothing but racism. It’s the same mindset that had the US interning Japanese Americans while German Americans went unmolested.

    1. You are probably right in implying that Israel is nearly a theocracy, you’re also correct in saying that antisemitic Europe was probably happy about the Jews leaving, but let’s not forget that zionism existed way before WW2.

      Insatiableatheist is entirely right in pointing out the religious nature of this conflict. While zionism started out as something like a secular movement, the idea of a “land of Israel” is entirely religious. Despite the blatant violations of human rights on the part of Israel, the response (hamas) to these violations doesn’t stem from a wish to defend human rights, but to defend religion-given rights and replace the state of Israel with a palestianian islamic state.
      Both sides of the conflict try to detract outside observers from their religious roots but the fact of the matter is; as long as the leaders of both societies don’t go through a serious process of secularization this conflict won’t see an end.

      1. Israel is not any way near a theocracy. It is a democracy where any citizen has an equal bote. I suggest that you remember that when you compare it with any of its neighbours who are not “nearly” theocracies, but rather dictatorships with anti-west agendas.

        1. Before 1966, Arabs in Israel lived under military rule. Arab citizens still cannot hold dual citizenship. It’s nearly impossible for them to purchase property from the state. Why doesn’t Israel offer citizenship and full voting rights to all of the people living within the area it controls? New Zealand is still the Maori homeland despite not having a Maori majority. Israel can still be a Jewish homeland without a Jewish majority.

          Doesn’t Israel have a coast guard? People defending this as a coast guard action need to realize this happened with commandos at dawn in international waters.

    2. Dear Antinous, your analysis of the factors that lead to the creation of the state of Israel is both ill-informed and irrelevant.

      You can question the UN decision for a homeland for the Jews in Israel as much as you like. It doesn’t matter.

      There’s approx. 8 million Israelis in Israel now and approx. 4 million Palestinians with them. Your historical game playing leads to the wishful thinking that either of these populations can be moved and “returned” to its proper location on the globe. That is rediculous.

      The bottom line is that both people live here, period. The question is can we co-exist peacefully or will we need a few more rounds of war before it settles in that we both share this land – either in two separate states or in one.

      In the context of the flotilla – that’s just another vicious attack by extremists who think one side (Israel) can be removed in favor of the other (The radicalized Islamic hamas faction of Palestine).

      The flotilla has nothing to do with “freedom”, “peace” and the historical justice that you’re imagining up in your comments.

      1. Correct.
        So, the two peoples ought to start marrying into each others populations already. Why wait two or three generations more?
        One person one vote: or shall one of our newest nations adopt practices from the moldy pages of history, and continue to discriminate one against the other based upon who their parents were, or what their parents did?
        Settle this up already.
        A civil war over land between cousins, embittered by differences of religion and of culture.
        Enough already: the shape of Madame Peace is becoming tolerably clear to those who live there, regardless of the rhetoric adopted by both parties to influence the opinions and actions of outsiders to the region.
        It is IMHO past time to start working on the fine details of Madame Peace. Or if not her, then her likeness: for habits of peace can generate actual peace: so long as the Parties recognize (even if they refuse to admit it to others, or even within their own Councils) that there is more to be gained by peace, than by war.
        And vociferous argument, is preferable to blows.
        But while engaging fully in such argument, I urge all of the parties to take care not to extinguish their reason, by dousing it into a sea of inflamed passions.
        A touch of far-sighted coldness, and a chill breeze upon all the hot-heads, is what this all-too-warm Mediterranean conflict requires.
        And as indicated earlier, the interbreeding cannot start soon enough.
        Make love, not war! Because given enough time, that always happens anyway. I say, shkip the fighting, and go directly there. Support inter-racial, inter-religious marriage!

      2. Your historical game playing leads to the wishful thinking that either of these populations can be moved and “returned” to its proper location on the globe.

        That’s not my point at all. Antisemitism and anti-Arab sentiment are two sides of one philosophy and it’s being promulgated by people who are quite happy to see Jews/Arabs/Muslims fighting with each other as long as they kill each other off.

  44. I agree with this too, Antinous — the Jewish question motivated these policies and I think it underlies the unwavering support by many American evangelicals for Israel. They don’t love the Jews, they want them out of the US. It’s all about ethno-nationalism – that every “nation” or ethnic group has a “natural” homeland where they belong. Over and again, this is just an excuse for various forms of ethnic cleansing and genocide, historically. The Holocaust is just the most obvious and most talked about example…

    But Zionists, good ethno-nationalist that they were, were indeed at the forefront of advocating for Israel in Palestine during the post-war period (and really before, but with less sway internationally amongst Jews – the holocaust, again, really pushed people into that camp). But UK was waffling on the issue during this time — but the pogroms in East Europe, the antisemitism in Germany that returning Jews were encountering, and the ongoing terrorism by Jewish settlers, and US support eventually decided the issue most decisively, I think.

    1. As far as US evangelicals, there’s a lot of ‘the Jews need to be in Jerusalem in order for us to get raptured’, too.

  45. @Antinous So you’re saying the gift of Palestine was racist to both the Arabs and the Jews? It was convenience. The Brits didn’t want to deal with the problems in the area. The Jews wanted to go to Palestine. Problem solved. Sure, a few people entertained other ideas of where to go, but the masses were quite clear.

    Palestine, as long as it existed, was a colony ruled by some foreigner or another. It was never an independent nation. In the early 20th century the British took the territory from Turkey–the Palestinians never had “their” country taken away. This is one of the major misrepresentations of the whole affair.

    Palestine was even named by the Romans, not by any indigenous population. Besides, and most importantly, no one was deported from Palestine on the creation of the state of Israel; they were given the option to leave if they wanted and stay if they wanted. It was only after the Arab nations attacked Israel in ’48 that Israel kicked everyone out.

    As to the internment camps: Japan perpetuated an attack on US soil, Germany did not. (though qualifying Hawai’i as US soil is a debate for another time.) That’s generally why the Japanese were more vilified, though, yes, there was racism involved. The US joined the war to avenge Pearl Harbor, not because of Germany. America was into eugenics and other crap too, they couldn’t be bothered to help even when the Brits and French were under attack.

    @mindysan33 colonization isn’t a European invention, sadly, the entirety of human civilization has been based on the conquering of foreign lands. To say that Israel shouldn’t exist because it’s just one of the more recent grabs isn’t particularly convincing.

    How long have the nations in the Middle East been solidified states? Hint: not terribly long. Many of the countries didn’t become definitively established with separate identities until after WWI.

    As to the Red Army, most of the Bloc countries were invaded DURING the war to “protect” them from invasion from the Nazis. Most of those countries also had bogus elections “voting” the Communist parties into power. By the time Yalta came around, most of the Bloc countries had already been annexed by the USSR, and the Allies recognizing that was merely a formality. No one had interest in starting WW3 at that point, so instead of fighting their claims, we get the Marshall Plan.

    Your points about the horrors of the post-war period are right on (except that Israel had already been founded by 4-5 years after the war), and supports my question: with this going on, why on earth would the Jews want to stay in Germany?

    Just a note, too: the Red Army is just as multifaceted as anyone in this debate. They’re the ones, after all, who liberated most of the concentration camps, despite common myth.

    1. At the risk of dragging this off-topic, saying that racism was just a ‘yeah, there was that too’ component of the Internment is blindingly stupid. Pearl Harbor just gave bigots an excuse.

  46. The Jews wanted to go to Palestine. Problem solved.

    You and I obviously have widely differing definitions of what constitutes a solved problem.

    Palestine was even named by the Romans, not by any indigenous population.

    Incorrect. “The name ‘Palestine’ is the cognate of an ancient word meaning ‘Philistines’ or ‘Land of the Philistines’.” That name has been in use for more than three millennia. Palestine has been continuously occupied for tens/hundreds of thousands years. There was an ancient Jewish state there for about 800 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine#Origin_of_name

    How long have the nations in the Middle East been solidified states? Hint: not terribly long. Many of the countries didn’t become definitively established with separate identities until after WWI.

    A specious argument. That applies to most of the nations on earth. Or should we just settle displaced Africans in Ukraine because the Russians/Poles/USSR claimed it?

    1. Problem solved in the eyes of the British, clearly, not my personal opinion. They washed their hands and left the Jews and Arabs to fight amongst themselves. That’s pretty much a fact, and whether they did it out of racism or to grant the Jews what they wanted is water under the bridge now.

      Besides, wouldn’t forcing the Jews to stay in Germany be just as “racist” in we-know-what’s-best attitude? I really don’t get your “Gee, we could have avoided this who debacle if those racist Allies had just given Germany to the Jews” though process. It’s ludicrous, not to mention entirely unfeasible.

      I also don’t see how your wikiquoting disagrees with what I’ve said insofar as Palestine is a foreigner’s term. The people who today use the term “Palestinian” (or Falastin in Arabic) are using a foreign term to describe themselves, further proving a lack of any historical cultural identity. We’ve both said it: the area has been in a constant state of colonialism for thousands of years. There is no historic nation of Palestine.

      So why are the Palestinians pretending they’re a nation seized? They’re not Hawai’i. There was no independent government, monarchy, or state in existence before Israel got there. Palestinians would command much more respect worldwide if they focused on the fact that Israel has made life miserable for them in their homeland instead of trying to claim untruths.

      As far as my “specious” argument … I guess you missed the part where I said “the entirety of human civilization has been based on the conquering of foreign lands”? Borders worldwide have been relatively unstable up until the past 50 or so years. There are still places where borders are being defined. If Jordan and Lebanon and Israel came to be in the 20th century, why is Israel automatically the villain for being the youngest? THAT is racism.

      Not sure what you’re trying to bait me with here. I’ll repeat what I’ve already said: To say that Israel shouldn’t exist because it’s just one of the more recent grabs isn’t particularly convincing.

      1. Is it the goal of modern states to fill the role of ancient states? You’re right, there was no independant Palestinian state called just that, but so what? There’s no historic secular Jewish state either. Shouldn’t everyone who comes from the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean have a home and citizenship? Why should the law of return only apply to people of one religion.

        The arguement of if Palestinian is an exonym and endonym is begging the question. Quit trying to deny people their identity.

      2. Besides, wouldn’t forcing the Jews to stay in Germany be just as “racist” in we-know-what’s-best attitude?

        Forcing them? To the extent that they chose to leave Europe, that choice was forced by European anti-Semitism, a rather active sentiment to this very day.

        Israel exists because it was sanctioned by and is propped up by foreign powers. That’s the use of force in this situation.

        The people who today use the term “Palestinian” (or Falastin in Arabic) are using a foreign term to describe themselves, further proving a lack of any historical cultural identity.

        For starters, that’s bullshit. Actual Palestinian families have been tending olive groves there for centuries. Or they did until the trees were plowed under to make way for violent religious fanatics to build settlements on the stolen land.

        Secondly, your argument that there’s no historical cultural identity for Palestinians could be just as easily applied to Jews in Israel. I fail to see how Ashkenazim, who have been living in Europe for at least a millennium, suddenly have a historical cultural identity that involves living in Palestine.

  47. There were less Israelis killed in the past 10 years by Gaza rockets than were peace activists killed this morning. Sigh.

  48. Denying people access to food, medicine and water is a great way to convince them to stop hating you.

  49. I know I’m tuning in late and nobody will read this. But I had to rush to the end and enter this thought:

    Is there any way that a Palestinian can renounce their intention to wipe out Israel? This pledge they have all sworn(if we are to believe their jailers) is the reason they must be punished, man woman and child. A way must be cleared for them to credibly clear their names and escape this barbarity.

    This idea, that as a people the Palestinians are all sworn to war, has convinced me that there are War Pigs of the highest order arrayed against them. It is odious propaganda if false, and a plan of reconcilliation if true. Let them give another pledge; let them share in the fate of their own nation of Israel. One state, one people, many religious practices.

    Oh, i forget, the racist nature of the whole enterprise of israel obviates any such secular sense.

    I have been shocked at the cruelty of Hamas against their own as they strain to send cruelty across the fence; War pigs know they Need Hamas, that is why Hamas is in power.

    Israel owes those people reparations and they know it. That is how I know they will never let go.

  50. Could somebody please explain to me the notion that the Israelis “came under attack” when force-boarding a ship on the high-seas?

    Self defense is a right, even if it is a futile act against overwhelming firepower.

    Even being of Jewish descent, I am appalled by almost everything that Israel does.

  51. It’s time to sanction these criminals. Israel is the ‘Middle East problem’.

    How much of our taxes go support the Israeli military? Does anyone have a pie chart?
    @4: http://ifamericansknew.org/

    I’m gonna read some more of these comments now, but this is the last straw. Israel: we are tired of your shit.
    Hats off to Elvis Costello: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment_and_arts/10125493.stm
    We need more famous faces to take such a stand against the fucktards in control in Israel. Boycott Israeli products – Don’t travel there: encourage others not to, either.

    1. How much does that pay, anyway? Do you have to be in intelligence or something to do it? It’s got to be sort of demoralizing to spread lies and half-lies and obscure and fudge the truth. But I guess the ends justify the means.

      1. more than doing captcha’s which allegedly is only a dollar per thousand.

        social media marketing on the guerrilla end sounds like, being paid to troll, which , zomg, sounds too good to be true. so, perhaps it’s less fun in practice.

        also , if it were so fun, there’s probably no moneys in it, like, if only, someone pay me to drink beer.

  52. Israel is a country that has armored buldozers, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to use armored tugboats and a compitent coast guard to intercept the Turkish Armada once it neared their shores. Instead they sent commandos to repell from a helicopter.

    @elleomnom
    “Palestine was even named by the Romans, not by any indigenous population.”
    So what? That mean’s the name is nearly 2000 years old, how many other countries have a name that old? The names Momans, Quakers, and Methodists were insults used by outsiders directed at those groups, but what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China. My country is named after some Italian dude who sailed around a bunch, are you going to try to deny my identity too?

    @Itsumishi
    “At risk of being abused by a lot of people, there is one key reason the US turns a blind eye to so much of Israel’s behaviour and that is to keep a military stronghold in the Middle East.”
    Sorry, there are/were better options for that. Isn’t that why we repelled the invasion of Kuwait in 1991? None of Israel’s neighbors have any oil.

    “Disruption to peace is beneficial to the US too as it keeps Middle Eastern countries from becoming stable enough to band together and really control the price of oil, which of course would absolutely screw the US.”
    How so? By making it too expensive or too cheap? The Saudis ignored their OPEC quotas in the 80s and it screwed the domestic US oil industry… they had to cancel Dallas because they all went broke.

    @hybrn
    “Is there any way that a Palestinian can renounce their intention to wipe out Israel?”
    By endorsing a binational one-state solution with right of return. That’s a pipe dream, but a two-state solution is a pipe dream too.

  53. @Thalia
    “So the rule you want is that any time the country was created after 1945, or any territory was involved in war and the borders changed, we’re going to reverse that? Because that’s going to lead to some very entertaining map redrawing.”

    My globe has a dotted line between India and Pakistan too. That dotted line perpetautes a bloody conflict too. The line between Pakistan and Afghanistan (~100 years old) doesn’t help either, ask the Pashtuns.

    The line between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, although 20 years older than WWI, had caused a lot of heartache and violence too, but thankfully the violence has died down since 1998. Help us George Mitchel!

  54. I have to admit I’m not as well read into this matter as the guys and gals above.

    To me it seems the crew of the ship panicked when they saw the IDF troops. I know I would when hulky uniformed entities with gunshaped tools would enter my ship.

    As for the rest of the discussion; We’ve got what we’ve got now, there is no way to change the situation by expelling all .

  55. I am horrified and disappointed by the number of people here who think it was ok, right even, for the Israeli forces to board vessels which were in international waters and use deadly force.

    SHAME ON YOU.

    1. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but Israel has a HUGE paid staff of people whose main job is to surf the blogs and post pro-Israel comments. Link is here.

      “”Straight out of Avigdor Lieberman’s Foreign Ministry: a new Internet Fighting Team! Israeli students and demobilized soldiers get paid to pretend they are just regular folks and leave pro-Israel comments on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. The effort is meant to fight the “well-oiled machine” of “pro-Palestinian websites, with huge budgets… with content from the Hamas news agency.” The approach was test-marketed during Israel’s assault on Gaza, and by groups like Give Israel Your United Support, a controversial effort to use instant-access technology to crowd-source Israel advocates to fill in flash polls or vote up key articles on social networking sites.””

      http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2009/07/14/that-angry-commenter-on-your-blog-may-actually-be-working-for-the-israeli-government/

  56. Israel attacks vessels in international waters for bringing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. This is illegal because the people of Gaza are under a blockade. The blockade is put in place because Gazans elected a terrorist organization into power. Because they elected a terrorist organization, they should go on a “diet” that starves them into submission. If anyone tries to hamper with the blockade, attack them.

    1. Dear hasnain22, Gaza is not under a blockade because its people elected the murderous anti-democratic Hamas terrorist organization to lead them. This is the vicious circle in which Israel and the Palestinians live in. (And now Turkey is for some reason eager to join in)

      Gaza is under blockade so that war materials including short and medium ranged missiles are not supplied to its terrorist government. This is to prevent Hamas and other terrorists in Gaza from attacking Israeli civilians as they’ve been doing for the past 8 years – including twice last night BTW.

      Israel is committed to maintaining reasonable living conditions in Gaza as much as it can, considering the territory is controlled by Hamas. This includes hundreds of supply trucks delievered to Gaza from Israel each month.

      This also includes giving the flotilla an option to pass all its humanitarian cargo to Gaza through the Ashdod port, following a security scan of contents. An offer which was flamboyantly rejected by the activists who were after creating headlines, rather than actually delivering the aid to Gaza.

    2. That’s a great summary of the Israel government’s official thinking.

      What does starving them into submission look like?

      Right now, the most powerful opposition in Gaza is Salafists who destroy UN summer camps for teaching girls physical fitness. The hope that you can starve them until a moderate emerges isn’t going to work.

  57. It should also be remembered that Hamas didn’t fall out of the sky:

    http://globalresearch.ca/articles/ZER403A.html

    The sorts of policies that Israel pursued enabled and encouraged a radical right wing faction to destabilise the PLO. The current policies will do no more than perpetuate the right-wing radicalisation of both sides of the conflict.

    Preaching about how Hamas is a terrorist organisation is pretty absurd considering Israel just shot a bunch of civilians in international waters. What the hell does that qualify as?

    1. jacobian, I agree with you that “current policies will do no more than perpetuate the right-wing radicalisation of both sides of the conflict.”

      I do not agree with your saying Israel “shot a bunch of civilians in international waters”.

      Where do you get your facts from? The ships were in Israeli territorial waters. Plus the “civilians” were shot as they were attacking Israeli soldiers with swords, iron bars and guns.

      See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LulDJh4fWI

      Sad but true – Being a civilian doesn’t imply innocence.

      1. Since when is 100Km off the coast “in Israeli territorial waters” ?

        And as for the attack on” Israeli soldiers with swords, iron bars and guns.” – Repelling an illegal boarding with kitchen knives, work knives, tools and 2 guns taken FROM the boarding soldiers does not constitute an organised aggressive attack.

        As for where I got the details? I got them directly from the Israeli Defence Forces press releases. How about you?

      2. I do not agree with your saying Israel “shot a bunch of civilians in international waters”. Where do you get your facts from? The ships were in Israeli territorial waters.

        It’s true they were in international waters, I knew two people on those boats. The Israeli official line is an out and out lie.

        Plus the “civilians” were shot as they were attacking Israeli soldiers with swords, iron bars and guns.

        Those were real civilians, not “scare quote” civilians. And civilians in international waters have the right to defend themselves against IDF commandos trying to kill them. Even if it means being forced to do so with sticks.

        Peace activist doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean you are supposed to allow the IDF to shoot you whenever they like.

        I hope you aren’t being paid for these disinfo sessions. You do have a rather notable comment record.

  58. Urig, the Israelis are not letting enough aid through, including building materials and food, so taking the cargo to Ashdod is out of the question. The UN is pretty clear on the health effects – the WHO estimates 10% of Gazan children are stunted with malnutrition as a result of the blockade.

    Instead of killing the Gaza Ghetto with famine, Israel could do any number of things in good faith to bring about genuine security by earning goodwill, including an unconditional freeze on settlement building, and the removal of all settlements the Israelis themselves hold illegal.
    This isn’t just partisan sniping: as a dual citizen of Israel and Australia, with a lot of family in Israel, the security of both sides means the world to me.

    I know it sounds patronising as hell, but you really need to understand: the biggest source of propaganda against Israel has been the actions thought necessary to secure it. We all know the Israeli nuclear arsenal has 200+ warheads, so there is no existential threat, just weapons that bored and pissed off teenagers anywhere would make if they were locked in an open air jail forever.

  59. So one terrorist group hates another terrorist group, what now?

    The only thing historical America needed Israel for was a friendly port for oil. Now we need it for oil AND Armageddon. Aren’t they one and the same?

    1. “The only thing historical America needed Israel for was a friendly port for oil.”

      Really? Besides Iran under the Shah, what oil-exporting country is or was friendly with Israel? Friendly port-of-oil is why we heart Saudi and Kuwait.

  60. Regardless of one’s view on the blockade, this does amply demonstrate Niven’s first and second law.

  61. Armed men storm and seize boats in international waters, isn’t that the definition of piracy?

  62. It’s funny how the Israelis can slaughter their own citizens by the dozen, or Palestinians by the hundreds and thousands, but if they kill a few Turks and Swedes suddenly they’re the bad guys. It has been clear for decades that the only way Israel can exist is by a sustained campaign of crimes against humanity. They demonstrate this with unceasing frequency.

  63. What happened to the urig reply to comment from jacobian probably originally #191? I read it this morning and now it is gone?

  64. Dachau blues those poor jews
    Dachau blues those poor jews
    Down in Dachau blues, down in Dachau blues
    Still cryin’ ’bout the burnin’ back in world war two’s
    One mad man six million lose
    Down in Dachau blues down in Dachau blues
    Dachau blues, Dachau blues those poor jews
    The world can’t forget that misery
    ‘n the young ones now beggin’ the old ones please
    t’ stop bein’ madmen
    ‘fore they have t’ tell their children
    ’bout the burnin’ back in World War Three’s
    War One was balls ‘n powder ‘n blood ‘n snow
    War Two rained death ‘n showers ‘n skeletons
    Danced ‘n screamin’ ‘n dyin’ in the ovens
    Cough ‘n smoke ‘n dyin’ by the dozens
    Down in Dachau blues
    Down in Dachau blues
    Three little children with doves on their shoulders
    Their eyes rolled back in ecstasy cryin’
    Please old man stop this misery
    They’re countin’ out the devil
    With two fingers on their hands
    Beggin’ the Lord don’t let the third one land
    On World War Three
    On World War Three

    1. well, the article is actually misleading. iranian ships will dock in egypt and move the cargo by land :-(

      1. Bro: I’m pretty sure the boat is a Libyan vessel. It will be interesting, however, to see how this one goes down.

        In related news:
        Unofficial Bob Dylan site [www.dylanchords.com] Dylanchords has blocked Israeli IPs in response to continuing mistreatment of civilians in Gaza. All Israeli users are instead redirected to the webmaster’s blog, which has an extensive and well articulated post about the ethics of the Israel/Palestine problem and boycotts in general.

        http://oestrem.com/thingstwice/2010/06/cultural-boycott-some-reflections/

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