Friday, June 4, 2010
The Isreali Govt might want to change the name of their Armed Forces from "ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES (IDF)" to maybe "ISRAELI ATTACK FORCES (IAF)" because defending is a thing that I haven't heard them doing for a long time...
1. The government of Israel initiated an attack on a Turkish-flagged vessel in international waters.
2. Turkey and Israel were not at war at the time of the attack.
3. The Turkish vessel was not armed. Note: the kitchen utensils and (gasp) slingshots that the Israeli military trotted out for the photo-op can hardly be considered "arms" in a modern military engagement. Doubt that? Ok, picture yourself "armed" with said implements facing an enemy with automatic weapons, heavy ordinance, and air support. Still happy with your "arms"?
Taken together, Israel's attack on this humanitarian aid ship was not only a bone-headed diplomatic blunder and inexcusable waste of life, but also an act of war.
The Israeli's could easily have waited for the ship to reach its own territorial waters where Israeli law applies. In that instance the Turkish vessel would have been a blockade runner and the Israeli's would have had a legal leg to stand on. However, since the blockade itself is illegal the aid activists still would have been in the right. But at least it would have been a local problem. By "flexing their muscles" and totally blowing it again, (remember Lebanon?) the Israelis have shown themselves to be not only bullies, but incompetent bullies.
Worse, the Israeli's have committed an act of war on a NATO ally of the United States of America. When private citizens capture ships at sea it is piracy. When nations do it we call it war. At least United States did in 1812.
Now, picture a U.S. aid flotilla heading for Somalia with medicine and building materials. Imagine that the local warlords, bent on crushing the local population, don't want that aid to arrive. Or substitute Afghan drug lords. After they fire on American-flagged vessels and kill several U.S. citizens should we respect their sovereignty?
I understand that many Americans don't like Hamas. Tough. Many Palestinians do. They were democratically elected in very open and fair elections monitored by the Carter Institute. Hamas is vilified in the west because they are effective at providing basic services for their people, unlike the thoroughly corrupt Fatah. No they are not a pacifist group in any way and many of their acts have been deplorable. So deplorable that they can be accurately compared to the IRA. Would Hamas be easier to accept if they were Irish Catholics?
While many Palestinians have called for a single, secular state a minority of Israeli citizens cling to the racist ideal of a pure "jewish state." This minority has hijacked the Israeli government and enacted policies and actions that are anathema to any western understanding of equality and basic human rights. They have also now committed an act of war on a NATO ally. Sadly, the choice between formal military ally and campaign contributor will go to the latter. So much for credibility.
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