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May 31, 2010

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But, but... the Arabs are worse!!!!!!

Not really relevant, of course, but I thought I'd at least get the inane "counter-argument" out of the way so we can move the discussion on....

This is a tragedy on many levels, and raises a lot of questions, but one of the most inexplicable seems to me to be why Israel seems to have deliberately gone out its way to totally piss off the Turks - one of, if not their few "friends" in the region, at the worst (til now) a disinterested neutral.

I don't know, I think aid specifically to Hamas is pretty far into 'moral abomination' territory itself.

Don't forget, they had slingshots:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAMFnu8ZBwk

I mean, if you can't rappel onto a civilian vessel and machine gun foreign nationals because they're carrying slingshots, who can you machine gun?

I don't know, I think aid specifically to Hamas is pretty far into 'moral abomination' territory itself.

No, not even close. And it wasn't "specifically to Hamas" unless you consider the entirety of Gaza's population to be Hamas.

A Turkish-flagged ship was attacked in international waters. Turkey is a member of NATO. Theoretically, is this sufficient cause for Turkey to invoke collective defense, or does that require an attack on home territory?

I don't understand at all why so much of the media is fixating on the possibility that the boarders were "provoked". One article in the UK press seemed to think that the main issue is whether the shootings were "disproportionate". If I break into your house, and you punch me, and I shoot you, is the disproportionate nature of my response really the key issue?

This abomination was my first news read this morning. Frankly, it made me weep. Israel has become the abomination she once fought against. If war against Saddam Hussein was partially justified by his murder of the Kurds; Israel kills Palestinians---how is it different. If Iran is threatened with war for reaching for nuclear power; Israel STOLE her nuclear status from us and yet is left to play with the Big Kid Country's toys unhampered. If the Taliban is attacked for theocratic ways; why does nobody in America question Israel's religious based laws?

A double standard has long existed for Israel in sympathy for the Holocaust survivors that built the country. That guilt-based "affirmative action" has run it's course. If it acts like a rogue state, a terrorist nation, a pirate at sea---it should be so treated.

Turkish naval escort, eh? Um, okay then, I will be hiding under my bed if that happens.

I don't understand at all why so much of the media is fixating on the possibility that the boarders were "provoked". One article in the UK press seemed to think that the main issue is whether the shootings were "disproportionate". If I break into your house, and you punch me, and I shoot you, is the disproportionate nature of my response really the key issue?

Exactly. The IDF was provoked? You've got to be freaking kidding me. I hope none of the yammerers in the media is one of the millions of Americans who believe that if someone breaks into your home, you're free to kill them in whatever style you see fit and be celebrated as a hero.

Impressive. Turkey used to be on rather friendly terms with Israel. But the current Israeli government has been working hard to piss that away for some time. Looks like they can now claim a success on that front. After all, Israel has so many countries in its neighborhood that are friends and allies, who needs one more?

Brett, until you understand that Israel has created Hamas, you will not understand (just as the US created Saddam in Iraq and Pahlavi and thus Khomeini and thus Achmadinejad in Iran, just as the US created the Taliban in the Pashtun lands as the "mujahedeen" and armed them with surface-to-air missiles and rocket launchers)

Look, Israel does not, by this action, risk losing Turkey as an ally. The reasoning is fairly direct:

You don't send aid to Gaza by way of a naval convoy to Gaza, if your aim is to get aid to Gaza. You don't do it that way for two reasons:

1. There IS a blockade, vigorously enforced, and legal under international law so long as Hamas keeps lobbing any munitions they get their hands on in Israel's direction. Israel and Hamas are at war, and naval blockades are a standard part of that.

2. Aid delivered to Gaza by way of Israel or Egypt will get to Gaza, after being searched for munitions.

You only 'send aid to Gaza' by a naval convoy to Gaza if you aim is either to provoke an incident, or smuggle arms to Hamas, or both.

If Turkey is doing either of those things, it is already, by their own decision, no longer an ally of Israel.

So, no risk of losing an ally.

The main point of this is Israel did this in international waters, they did not wait until the flotilla attempted to enter disputed waters.

Brett says, "1. There IS a blockade, vigorously enforced, and legal under international law so long as Hamas keeps lobbing any munitions they get their hands on in Israel's direction. Israel and Hamas are at war, and naval blockades are a standard part of that."

And I wonder ...

does this really apply?

I mean, so far as I understand it, "Hamas" isn't a country. So Israel is not "at war" with Hamas. In any case, what's being blockaded is not "Hamas," but an area of Gaza. Is Israel at war with Gaza? All of it? Part of it?

I take it as read that the attack on the vessel in international waters is illegal. But I'd love to see informed comments on the legality of Israel's blockade itself.

In other words, is all the uproar only because the attack was in international waters ... such that if Israel had waited for the ships to go a few more miles, everything would have been hunky-dory? Or is something more fundamental awry here?

I honestly don't know the answers here. Thanks in advance for any help.

Clearly, Brett is an Iranian sleeper agent...

I mean, so far as I understand it, "Hamas" isn't a country. So Israel is not "at war" with Hamas. In any case, what's being blockaded is not "Hamas," but an area of Gaza. Is Israel at war with Gaza? All of it? Part of it?

You are quite correct. For Israel to legally blockade Hamas, it would have to recognize Gaza as a belligerent, which would be a de facto recognition of its independence and entitle Gaza to the rights of belligerents under the Hague Convention of 1899, including, among other things, the responsibility to treat Palestinian prisoners from Gaza as prisoners of war, which Israel does not do.

@ kent (18:28)

I take it as read that the attack on the vessel in international waters is illegal.

Actually, from what I've read of the various bits of the relevant international maritime law various bloggers have posted around the Intertubes today, "belligerents" ARE permitted, I think, to halt and search even neutral-flagged shipping on the high seas, upon "reasonable suspicion" of their possibly carrying "contraband". But 1) the "stopping" power is also liable, under maritime law, for any "damages" said stop-and-search might cause - barring discovery of any actual illegality - and 2) as pointed out, the Israeli blockade of Gaza is a sort of legal grey-area: which of course, would never stop the Israelis from doing any damn thing they please.

Brett: Aid delivered to Gaza by way of Israel or Egypt will get to Gaza, after being searched for munitions.

Simply not true. Unless by "munitions" you mean canned fruit, lentils, paper, or whatever strikes the IDF's fancy this week. The list of what gets through beyond the basics in the link changes constantly.

"For Israel to legally blockade Hamas, it would have to recognize Gaza as a belligerent, which would be a de facto recognition of its independence and entitle Gaza to the rights of belligerents under the Hague Convention of 1899, including, among other things, the responsibility to treat Palestinian prisoners from Gaza as prisoners of war, which Israel does not do."

Or they could treat it as an internal matter, since we all know about the fact that Tibet exists.

(This isn't a defense of Israel btw, which should be obvious since I'm comparing it to China's treatment of Tibet but I thought I'd be clear).

More recent, information on Israeli govt policy wrt the blockade.

It's not part of the main post, but I imagine many readers here know that a U.S. artist and solidarity activist, Emily Henochowicz, was shot in the face by the IDF today while taking part in a peaceful protest of the attack on the Gaza flotilla. She lost her eye.

"peaceful humanitarian activists" my ass. Unless "peaceful humanitarian activists" normally form murderous mobs.

How you can peddle tendentious war propaganda and live with yourself is beyond my understanding.

""peaceful humanitarian activists" my ass. Unless "peaceful humanitarian activists" normally form murderous mobs."

Based on a lot of accounts I've read, this actually IS fairly common behavior on the part of people calling themselves 'peaceful humanitarian activists'. Especially when they've gone out of their way to stage confrontations.

peaceful humanitarian activists" my ass. Unless "peaceful humanitarian activists" normally form murderous mobs.

What? "Murderous mobs"? What on God's green earth does that even mean?

How you can peddle tendentious war propaganda and live with yourself is beyond my understanding.

I believe this is what psychologists refer to as projection, and so one suspects this phenomenon is well within your understanding.

Especially when they've gone out of their way to stage confrontations.

Right, by which we mean, "Attempting to proceed with urgently needed supplies to a territory in need of relief without undue delay and interference from the very party enforcing deprivation on said territory."

Here, by the way, are the weapons found on the ship. Not exactly what I'd bring to a planned ambush of commandos, unless we're talking about zealots attacking 1st century Roman legionaries and even then I don't think it's adequate.

link

What? "Murderous mobs"? What on God's green earth does that even mean?

It means that opposing the will of the US or Israel is de facto immoral violence. The facts of the matter are irrelevant. To some people, anyway. It's so much easier than trying to decide right and wrong on the merits.

Not exactly what I'd bring to a planned ambush of commandos

Yes, let's imagine what it would have looked like if they were as well armed as, say, an LA street gang or right-wing militia group.
I mean, most of those 'weapons' I can find in my house: kitchen knives, screwdrivers, baby sledgehammer, wrenches, etc. I guess the SWAT analogy from the other thread is right on, I've got a virtual armory here at home, they should be busting in any moment now to protect my neighbors.

It's particularly odious coming from those who frequently claim the importance of the right to self-defense; Americans ought to go about armed with guns, but Palestinians and their friends ought to prepare their meals with sporks and maintain their ship with wooden wrenches, just in case the Israelis decide to commit piracy they won't pose a threat. Owning metal wrenches is joining an anti-Semitic lynch mob waiting to happen.

Brett, oughtn't you support the position that the Turks should be allowed to carry guns everywhere, and that this should be considered a natural right rather than a provocation? Or are they the wrong ethnicity to deserve that sort of treatment?

Scott de B, I thought that was a very interesting piece of information you posted there, and today there is an interview with an expert in international law on the German site of der Spiegel (for some reason, I couldn't locate it on the English site) who basically confirms it. He says (regarding the blockade)that Israel can either be an occupation force or be in a state of war with Hamas, but not choose at will.

"Right, by which we mean, "Attempting to proceed with urgently needed supplies to a territory in need of relief without undue delay and interference from the very party enforcing deprivation on said territory.""

By which we mean, "Deliberately attempting to run a naval blockade, despite knowing that there are other routes by which needed supplies could be delivered without resulting in a confrontation."

This wasn't people trying to get aid to Gaza. This was people staging a PR stunt to break a blockade, so that the next ship could carry munitions.

And, of course they went into the confrontation with something like improvised weapons. Wouldn't make very good TV if they'd shot down the helicopter with a surface to air missile, would it? You use the tools needed to get the job done, and the job here was putting up enough resistance that people would get killed, without the planned nature of the confrontation being too blatant.

Mind, it doesn't take much work to fool people who WANT to be fooled...

Brett: "Deliberately attempting to run a naval blockade, despite knowing that there are other routes by which needed supplies could be delivered without resulting in a confrontation."


What, the reputed tunnels from Gaza into Egypt?

"Deliberately attempting to run a naval blockade, despite knowing that there are other routes by which needed supplies could be delivered without resulting in a confrontation"

Except that many needed supplies don't make it into Gaza by those other routes (not even the tunnels).

Yet another argument from Brett that has considerable force in some parallel universe where its assumptions are true.

The supplies from the recent confrontation have already begun to arrive in Gaza, where Hamas is refusing to accept them. Israel says the blockade runners were delivering expired medicines. Hamas says the wheelchairs are defective.

Nobody is saying they found military weapons in the cargo. Maybe next time. Oh that's it -- they'll deliver defective explosives. Boom!

The Jerusalem Post article reports that Hamas says Israel removed the batteries from the wheelchairs and that they won't accept the aid until all prisoners are released. Don't know if this is true or not, of course, but it's helpful to supply links and describe accurately what is in them, I think.

link

Deliberately attempting to run a naval blockade, despite knowing that there are other routes by which needed supplies could be delivered without resulting in a confrontation."

Huh? The whole point is that there are NOT other routes. The "other routes" are controlled, and the aid is interdicted, and meted out in punitively low quantities.

Jeez Brett, these are basic facts.

And, of course they went into the confrontation with something like improvised weapons. Wouldn't make very good TV if they'd shot down the helicopter with a surface to air missile, would it? You use the tools needed to get the job done, and the job here was putting up enough resistance that people would get killed, without the planned nature of the confrontation being too blatant.

Mind, it doesn't take much work to fool people who WANT to be fooled...

Do you have any evidence for this mind-reading? Otherwise, I'll take that last sentence as a self-indictment.

And, of course they went into the confrontation with something like improvised weapons. Wouldn't make very good TV if they'd shot down the helicopter with a surface to air missile, would it? You use the tools needed to get the job done, and the job here was putting up enough resistance that people would get killed, without the planned nature of the confrontation being too blatant.

Mind, it doesn't take much work to fool people who WANT to be fooled...

If ever a comment had begged more for Occam's razor...

Seriously, Brett? I mean, it's possible that your explanation is correct, but is it really more likely than that they just used the stuff they had when they were boarded by commandos from helicopters 75 miles out to sea? Do you really think they thought that this thing would play out specifically in the manner it did, that Israel might not do something less aggressive?

I can at once believe that the aid flotilla was a purposeful provocation (leaving aside its moral justification) while, at the same time, believing that Israel's reaction, as it was, was ridiculously wrong and unpredictable. Provocation does not confer carte blanche.

Yet another argument from Brett that has considerable force in some parallel universe where its assumptions are true.

Yet another thread that has me mystified why anyone bothers responding to Brett, ever, about anything.

"And, of course they went into the confrontation with something like improvised weapons. Wouldn't make very good TV if they'd shot down the helicopter with a surface to air missile, would it? You use the tools needed to get the job done, and the job here was putting up enough resistance that people would get killed, without the planned nature of the confrontation being too blatant."

Brett, you are implying that this was a set-up intended to provoke the Israelis to do something very stupid.

I say, so what?

Have you not heard of civil disobedience? Check out Plessy v. Ferguson. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plessy_v._Ferguson

Whether or not the ship (bearing no contraband and no firearms) was intended to tempt the Israeli commandos to commit criminal acts has no bearing on whether the Israelis commandos did commit criminal acts, nor whether they are culpable for them. Unless you're claiming that Israel was entrapped?

UK, we respond to Brett because he's the only punching bag we've
got to express our frustration.

Personally, I like Brett, even if he's terribly, terribly wrong most of the time. That's why I respond to him.

I'm with HSH.

I've actually known Brett for about 6 years now, online only.

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