Archive for June 1st, 2010

The Israeli writer David Grossman, whose son died in the waning days of the 2006 war in Lebanon, makes a stunningly clear case for what was wrong with the Israeli flotilla action. While having no truck with the IHH, he also shows how wrong and self-defeating the Israeli action was. More importantly, he demonstrates how this is sympomatic of the larger problems Israel is bringing on itself with the cruel siege of Gaza and the ongoing occupation.

If the Ministers and Members of the Knesset had half Grossman’s clarity of vision, Israel would be in a much better place with a bright future, instead of facing its own national suicide.

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My friend and colleague, Joel Schalit, has a succinct and on-target piece at France24 on the effects of this debacle. I highly recommend it.

France24 also took the lead in publicizing the accounts of flotilla activists who have already been repatriated. Check them out here.

And the Guardian (UK) has more accounts here.

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With many more videos out now since I posted yesterday about the disastrous attack by the IDF on the Free Gaza flotilla, it becomes apparent that I need to address my characterization of the Free Gaza Movement as “non-violent.”

It is obvious that many on board the Mavi Marmara could certainly not be described so. Even granting the claims of some of the group leaders that these videos captured scenes that occurred after other activists had been injured or even killed (and that is not proven at this point) it’s clear that some in the group were quite ready to use violent tactics before exhausting non-violent options.

The Free Gaza Movement itself is not the sum total of the people on the flotilla. As I said, I know this group well and am convinced of their commitment to non-violence, whether that commitment comes from principles or tactical decisions. I suspect it’s both in some measure, but in any case it’s real.

Such is not true of the Turkish humanitarian aid group, IHH, which worked in partnership with the FGM.

I’m not familiar enough with IHH to say how deep its connection may or may not be to the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas, both of which have been said to have ties to IHH, something not proven, though their support of Hamas politically (not in terms of violence) has been known for some time. They don’t seem to be on the same sort of page regarding non-violent opposition as the FGM.

Having said that, and adding that the violence by the demonstrators was obviously foolhardy and wrong, we must continue to focus on the much more serious question of Israeli commandoes boarding a ship in international waters.

Even from the point of view of Israel’s military planners, is it reasonable to take such an action and expect no resistance?  Does not the use of such tactics, in fact, invite a fight?  Such an action, in international waters, does indeed open up the soldiers taking the action, when there was no provocation or illegal action at all by the ship in question, to attack in self-defense. There are clearly many circumstances here that continue to bear investigation.

And, indeed we still have the fundamental question I raised yesterday—are we to seriously believe that the flotilla organizers, or some segment of them, were prepared to sacrifice their lives just to make Israel look bad? Seems kind of silly, especially when the likes of Avigdor Lieberman and Danny Ayalon do that job so very well already.

None of this mitigates the fact that Israel took action against civilians, whose express purpose, as acknowledged by Israel as well, was to bring humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza. The result was multiple deaths and injuries. It was a crime of the highest order.

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