Israel - Still "The Jew Amongst Nations"
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"Watching the "international community" rush to pour condemnation upon Israel once again, for having the temerity to defend itself, is deeply depressing. "
Heh, not in the US press. Here's the typical headline over here: "Global Jihad Linked to Flotilla"
God bless America.
;^) ;^) ;^) ;^) !!! [ <- 4 smilies!]
And while I'm on my soapbox.....
"The organisation that controls Gaza, Hamas, is waging a war of annihilation against Israel. "
True, but the simple inescapable fact is that Gaza and parts of the West Bank are Israeli impossed ghettos as bad as any in WWII. Underworld organizations always feed and prosper off of poverty and martial law- they are the only groups with access to wealth and justice (through force of arms).
"Both Israel and Egypt have instituted a blockade of Gaza..."
True, and this is allowed under the UN. The fact that the blockade is part of the ghetto imposition is key though.
"One of the organisers of the flotilla is IHH, a Turkish Islamist humanitarian organisation"
Citizens from 40 countries were on the boats- including a US ambassador. They all agree that the Israelis have created a prison for Palestinians within Gaza.
"The Israeli government asked the organizers of the flotilla to deliver it to an Israeli port where it would be inspected for weapons before being forwarded to Gaza. The organizers refused."
And I should report to a police station to have them inspect my car before I go to the grocery store? I don't think so!
"When the flotilla ignored multiple instructions from Israeli navy ships to change course, Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara and were assaulted and beaten with metal poles, baseball bats, and knives."
"Oh the poor peaceful commandos! Pity their plight"! What part of "commando" isn't clear? First of all, The flotilla was in international waters a day away from the coast. By boarding in international waters- a clear violation of maritime law- the commandos were no better than well equiped pirates. I don't see anyone defending their taking ships and stores. Second, As far as I'm concerned, in international waters, the passengers could have fed those commandos to the sharks, and been well within their right to do so.
Thanks for that. I'll limit myself to two points in reponse:
1) A state, in a time of conflict, can impose an embargo, which Israel did by declaring a 20-mile exclusion zone off Gaza's shores. And while Israel may or may not be at war with Gaza, Hamas-ruled Gaza has made it very clear it is at war with Israel.
Under international law, the imposing state cannot carry out embargo activities in the territorial waters of a third party — and Israel has never done that — but it can carry out such activities in international waters.
From my reading of it, it is legal, within the international law framework, to detain a civilian vessel trying to break an embargo; and if in the course of detaining the vessel, security forces of the imposing state are attacked, then these security forces have every right to act in self-defence.
2) Very questionable metaphor alert: "And I should report to a police station to have them inspect my car before I go to the grocery store? I don't think so!"
Let us say, instead, that if you drive a truck loaded with crates up the driveway of my neighbour, and that neighbor has been firing his shotgun at me out his window, for years, and is swearing up and down that he won't stop until I'm dead, then, yes - your truck should be searched for shotgun shells at the curb. At the very least. (Personally, I'm not sure I'd be feeling big-hearted enough to let the groceries through. Let him eat buckshot!)
I must admit to watch these sort of episodes with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. That's not just because of the deaths - but it is more the sheer intractability of the situation. Whatever either of the polarised sides of this dispute might think, there is wrong and injustice on both sides. A large proportion of the Gaza population are refugees or the descendants of refugees who fled or were driven out of their homes in various Arab/Israelis wars in the early years of the state of Israel and were never allowed to return. If we go back to the original Balfour declaration, then there was a British promise not to prejudice the interests of the Palestinian residents in the setting up of the Jewish state. Of course there was absolutely no way that wss ever going to be possible. It was an empty and misleading commitment and it unraveled through the mid part of the 20th century. It was an irreconcilable set of objectives and we are seeing the results. Of course the people on the ground are the victims of history.
Of course Noel is right to say that the Gaza strip is a ghetto. However, he's insultingly wide of the mark to say that it is as bad as anything in WWII. There is no way that the circumstances are similar to those of the Warsaw ghetto. However, what Israel are doing, and this is an explicit policy, is carrying out an economic blockade designed to undermine the support for Hamas. We know it is explicit, because there are statements to that effect - it goes far beyond simply stopping weapons, or even dual-use items. It's about undermining any attempt at economic development or giving any real hope to the inhabitants of Gaza in the hope that . The interception of the convoy was never about stopping weapons as such - it was a power play on both sides. Frankly, whoever was handling the Israeli policy was inept - landing armed troops in international waters resulting in the deaths of several civilians is never going to sound good whatever the lawyers might argue.
On the strict legalities here (and I'm more about justice than letters of the law), then Israel, as the power that has control over Gaza has a duty to safeguard the non-combatants within practical limits. It's not a matter of congratulating Israel on what limited aid does get through - it's a legal obligation. The policy, quite simply, is to maintain the population of Gaza at not much more than subsistence level in the hope that they tire of Hamas.
If legalities are the issue, you can't really pick and choose. For example, there are legal obligations regarding the settlements in the West Bank which are in clear violation if international law. There are other matters - for instance, a West Bank Palestinian who marries an Israeli has no right to become an Israeli citizen (a law which does, of course, overwhelmingly affect Arab Israelis.
Personally I'm not fond of the idea of either religious or ethnically based states. I think that Eric Hobsbawn is right on the matter. Israel is not alone in a "right of return". Germany, Ireland and several other countries have a right of citizenship based on ethnic origins. Frankly I don't like any of them. Once more than two or three generations is past then we are in a different World.
So is there an answer? Well no - I don't think so. Ultimately it will probably be decided by populations and power shifts. It's difficult to be optimistic about the long term security of Israel. Ultimately it relies on the US for its very existence - if that is ever to falter, then that will be the beginning of the end.
My other point for anybody who ever wants to take a black and white view of these things is imagine, if you can, what it would be like to be raised on the other side of such a conflict. How you would feel, what injustice that you might carry. I'd like to think this will work out - I don't think it will.
It's very simple: Israel wants to be left alone, Hamas wants to destroy Israel.
It's there in the charter.
This international waters stuff is minutiae, and trying to divert from the larger point.
Israel is the only country that could have a buttload of missiles fired into, be asked by our President to give up 97 percent of the disputed land, plus offer the equivalent 3 percent, do it, and still be "the bad guys" (they did this at the end of Clinton's presidency)
So a bunch of Turkish goons try to send weapons and concrete into this "ghetto" (you know the ghetto where Israel provides people with humanitarian aid, electricity, etc.) which are strictly forbidden with some useful idiot European human shields. They get boarded by guys with PAINTBALL guns, still get attacked with knives pipes and stun grenades and I'm supposed to be upset that the goons lost a few?
Here's the simple thing you need to know.
Hamas and their ilk lay down all their weapons, there's peace within 2 days
Israel lay down their weapons, they're destroyed within 2 days.
Don't even get me started on how worthless the "international community" and their opinion is.
Israel goes down, things don't stop. If anything, the target on us gets bigger.
I'm declaring Fatwa on your ass Hawkins...... Humdalalalalalalala!!!!!!!
Dead Jeff aside, the only way for the US and Israel to win is for Israel to get attacked first, and the whole world knows it.
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