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Israel opens fire on Gaza aid flotilla; at least 10 dead, 60 wounded


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Israel is far from innocent or lacking mistakes. Many countries are like that too, of course, and yet, not many countries are in the same situation of having to defend themselves against an enemy that is so close and so vigilant as to bomb civilian institutions and busses and restaurants.

 

But the examples you give are.. weird. Honestly, if we go back so far as 1967, *I* can give better examples than yours.

Australia's relations with Israel have hit a new low, with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith expelling an Israeli diplomat over the faking of four Australian passports used in the killing of a senior Hamas official in January.

 

http://www.theage.com.au/national/israel-responsible-for-faking-passports-20100524-w59w.html

Agreed. This wasn't a coverup though... it was an act of intelligence warfare. Countries do that all the time, the only difference is that in this case, Israel was caught. If you think Israel is the only country to use forged passports in intelligence acts, you're sorely mistaken.

 

However, I do agree that this is a big ****up. I don't know if this is "a conspiracy", though.

 

Israel has been caught spying in Washington again

http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/062000/0006006.html

Yeah, see, I couldn't find anything about this other than this publication. I've never heard of this publication before, and I can't find anything whatsoever to support this claim other than this article, specifically. Can you bring any corroboration for this?

 

These are not evidenced claims, these are suspicions and allegations, which are unsupported. But seriously, if you want to go so back in time into 1967, I can bring up other instances where Israel was seriously at fault that are much closer to our current days.

 

 

 

It's very easy to reduce situations into "the poor good guys" and "the evil bad guys", but reality is rarely like that. The situation in the middle east is far more complicated with fault on both sides, and atrocious acts on both sides. The question, really, is how this can be solved. I can guarantee that the *people* of israel - the majority, at laest - want peace, even when they differ on the route to get it.

 

If only things were that simple, we'd all be happy and rich. And safe.

 

If only.

 

~moo


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The problem with this analogy is that a ship is sovereign territory of the country whose flag it flies, in this case apparently Turkey. Illegally boarding a ship isn't simply a policing mistake but can be an act of war, which is why Turkey has said they'll escort further convoys.

So is breaching a blockade.

 

 

BTW, we keep saying "Israel's Blockade" -- the blockade isn't strictly Israel's. It's a joint force blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt for the same reason of terrorist actions in Gaza against both states.

 

~moo


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This might seem propagandish, but it sums the situation up, and you can independently verify the claims, if you want. We've seen the majority of the piece in this video already in this thread, it just sums them up in chornological order and brings more information (which, again, you can verify)

 

kus12PL8htQ

 

A bit more about IHH and their ties to Hamas and other organizations *the united states deems as terrorists* (not just Israel): http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/terror-finance-flotilla

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Humanitarian-Flotilla-finananced-by-terror-group-95312309.html

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LF02Ak03.html

US Treasury dept. warning about "Union of Good" http://treas.gov/press/releases/hp1267.htm

http://iplextra.indiatimes.com/article/0ecNdaO5GdfGj?q=Hamas

 

 

 

I reiterate my initial claim that we should wait until there is more information before we jump to conclusions about who was right and who was wrong, and about the intentions of the parties involved.

 

~moo

Edited by mooeypoo
erasing double-posting
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The harsh reality is that both the people of Israel (not the government - the people) and the people of palestine are both pawns in a sad game.

 

I have no doubt that the people of both palestine and israel want peace, and to live without fear of being shot by a sniper, or bombed on a bus while minding their own business. Sadly the governments and leaders of extremist groups further their own agendas at the cost of civilian and innocent life.

 

There is no way forward while either side perpetrates violence.

 

Sadly a turn the other cheek option doesnt work either.

I see no sollution to this problem, the only possible sollution is that one nationality leaves the area completely, but even this is ridiculous as it's a non-realistic approach also.

 

And in all fairness I just grabbed the first 3 items that googled, and if u agree more worse things and more recent exist then u see my point.

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So is breaching a blockade.

 

 

BTW, we keep saying "Israel's Blockade" -- the blockade isn't strictly Israel's. It's a joint force blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt for the same reason of terrorist actions in Gaza against both states.

 

Hey I said The legality of the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt is already contested but nothing will come of it back in post #27 so I'm not guilty of that. But like I said, the legality of the blockade contested, so whether breaching the blockade is illegal or not isn't something everyone is going to agree on. And there was discussion already about whether the boarding was legal anyway because of the distance from the coast.

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And in all fairness I just grabbed the first 3 items that googled, and if u agree more worse things and more recent exist then u see my point.

 

Sure, on both sides and in many countries.

 

 

 

 

BTW, regarding blockades in general, imposing a blockade to ensure the security of the people of the state isn't new, and it's not something Israel invented out of the blue. One of the examples is the US blockade on Cuba during the missile crisis. The principle was to make sure missiles do not get into Cuba that made its intentions to use them clear. Same thing happens here, only worse; Hamas fires rockets continously on Israeli *cities*. And we're not talking about settlements inside a disputed area - we're talking actual cities inside the borders of Israel. For 8 years there are rockets on a town called "Sderot" by Hamas - since before they were "elected" government in Gaza.

The blockade of Gaza isn't out of some whimsical decision of a power hungry minister - it's to prevent the shipments of missiles and explosives into the gaza strip, missiles and explosives that regularly hurt Israeli civilians.

 

I disagree with the government's policies, but there's a difference between disagreeing with policies and condemning a shitty situation no one has any solution to. The civilians on both sides can't really wait until a solution is found - their security is compromised *now*.

 

What's the solution? I don't know. I hope that a proper government will be elected in Gaza so a proper government in ISrael (not the current one, for sure) will be able to continue the talks taht did start in better days. We thought peace with Jordan is impossible, and yet it happened. We thought peace with Egypt is impossible, and yet it happened. I hope one day there will be peace with Gaza.

 

But until that happens, I don't think my government should compromise on the safety of its citizens. I would assume you wouldn't want your government to compromise on that either. I would HOPE that they do some better planning and executing of these issues, but as we see here, things are not as they immediately seem to be. The situation is much more complex than it seems.

 

~moo


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Hey I said The legality of the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt is already contested but nothing will come of it back in post #27 so I'm not guilty of that. But like I said, the legality of the blockade contested, so whether breaching the blockade is illegal or not isn't something everyone is going to agree on. And there was discussion already about whether the boarding was legal anyway because of the distance from the coast.

I wasn't talking strictly about you :)

 

Regarding the legality of the blockade, I think you should read this article in the huffington post - it makes some good points: Alan Dershowitz: Israel's Actions Were Entirely Lawful Though Probably Unwise.

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Professor Dershowitz may get a few ugly phone calls from his liberal friends tomorrow, but he makes a damn good point. The people of Gaza can have iPads and Playstations when they stop letting their neighbors shoot rockets at jews just because they're jews.

 

Little more to it, I know, but not much more.

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I'm sorry, but do you have evidence for these cases? I am not sure I know which examples of such blatant cover-ups you're talking about?

well-doing people in the street inside out using white phosphorous.

ISRAEL-OPT: Israel denies using white phosphorus in Gaza

 

 

BBC-Israel denies banned weapons use

_45365526_1.jpg

Human Rights Watch says pictures like this point to white phosphorus use, but Israel denies this

 

more and more picture

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2009/jan/21/gaza-israelandthepalestinians

 

then, well, they admitted that they may have used them, but then also may not.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/21/gaza-phosphorus-shells

 

and then..finally;

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=83315&sectionid=351020202

 

the evidence is overwhelming for this, the attitude of israel mind boggling; the bombs are pictured exploding in the sky, pictured falling on people, buildings, homes,schools. the burns were reported,the clouds examined and pictured, the unique fires extinguished, and to all this israel denies:doh:

 

that's why till now i'm not 100% sure of what happened, not even the video.

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Well you say that palestine should stop being armed to fight israel, but israel has superior weapons technology, foreign government aid to buy said weapons, and a demonstrated gnouse for using the weapons on townships and civilians.

 

With great power comes great responsibility, and I'm not sure israel would treat the palestinian people fairly if ever it were to totally disarm palestine.

 

As with the American gun laws, the idea of an armed population is to stop overthrow from a hostile tyranical government - be it domestic or foreign.

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I wasn't talking strictly about you :)

 

Regarding the legality of the blockade, I think you should read this article in the huffington post - it makes some good points: Alan Dershowitz: Israel's Actions Were Entirely Lawful Though Probably Unwise.

There are a few things Dershowitz doesn't address, such as whether Israel can still be considered to be an occupying power of Gaza because it retains some control over it and if so would that would affect the ability to blockade Gaza, and I think he is not entirely correct in stating that Israel must stop ships passing through a blockade to maintain its validity. If ships are carrying aid then they ordinarily can pass through a blockade without any effects on its legitimacy. You could also question whether it was reasonable to stop these particular ships since it was unlikely they'd be carrying weapons or materials to make them.

 

However the legal issues are largely irrelevent since they won't be resolved in any court. The boarding was a failure from a planning point of view. And if you think stopping and searching the ships was unecessary to prevent weapons getting into Gaza then the whole incident could have been avoided.

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You could also question whether it was reasonable to stop these particular ships since it was unlikely they'd be carrying weapons or materials to make them.

 

there have been all too many examples of 'aid' ships being used to smuggle weapons in. in light of that, it does seem reasonable to request that any aid being delivered is subject to search(and does it really matter if it ends up where it is intended anyay)

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Once again the UN shows its weak, pacifist, cowardly, appeasing, irresponsible, unrealistic, and unscientific nature. I wonder which pack of cheese-eating surrender monkeys wrote up the language this time.

 

 

 

 

I disagree. In my opinion there are FAR more important principles than preserving life.

 

More important than human life?

For example?

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BBC News images of the Gaza flotilla seizure

 

istan_israel_1.gif

 

I just don't see where the flotilla was running the blockade. According to the BBC, the flotilla consistently steamed parallel to the coast and well outside the blockade. The distance between Ashdod and Haifa (the peninsula shown below) is 70 nautical miles. This places the flotilla about 75 nautical miles off the coast, well outside Israel's territorial waters (also shown above). Its ETA for violating the blockade was infinity. The flotilla hadn't even steamed past Ashdod where Israel ordered it to go. This debunks the idea of not being able to stop it in time if it violated Israel's 20-mile limit. Besides, as someone aptly pointed out, Israel can always sink them.

 

istan_israel_5.gif

Edited by ewmon
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like we said, it had announced its intentions of running the blockade.

 

also, it would be stupid to cross into israeli national waters at the furthest possible point from your desitination. had they been allowed to continue, they would have arranged a run that spent as little time as possible between the breach and reaching shore. this is where the IDF would have had insufficient time had they not preempted them.

 

it is possible they were bluffing, but then they still aren't innocent because of all the things in the world to bluff, a competent military is not one of them.

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There are a few things Dershowitz doesn't address, such as whether Israel can still be considered to be an occupying power of Gaza because it retains some control over it and if so would that would affect the ability to blockade Gaza, and I think he is not entirely correct in stating that Israel must stop ships passing through a blockade to maintain its validity. If ships are carrying aid then they ordinarily can pass through a blockade without any effects on its legitimacy. You could also question whether it was reasonable to stop these particular ships since it was unlikely they'd be carrying weapons or materials to make them.

 

However the legal issues are largely irrelevent since they won't be resolved in any court. The boarding was a failure from a planning point of view. And if you think stopping and searching the ships was unecessary to prevent weapons getting into Gaza then the whole incident could have been avoided.

 

Yeah, it's a very interesting discussion, but it's not exactly relevant to the particular case here.

 

We can talk about Israel's behavior in Gaza, but the thread's topic is about Israel's behavior regarding the flotilla. Shifting the argument to where Israel is more clearly in the wrong (and I do agree for the most part in the Gaza strip) is a red herring.

 

That said, Israel no longer 'occupies' the Gaza strip; it left it a few years ago, one-sidedly, as a courtesy, hoping it will cause the Gazans and their government to become more independent and talks about peace can ensue. Instead, the Hamas government started firing rockets at Israel - this is what *led* to the necessity - in Israel's eyes - of the blockade. In light of the fact that thousands of civilians are being shot at daily by Hamas rockets ("Qasam" rockets) in Sderot and southern Israel, I'm not too sure what you would suggest Israel do. Do you suggest Israel was to leave things be? Attempts to talk to Hamas has all but failed when Hamas declared they don't care to acknowledge Israel's right to exist - which means they will not discuss peace.

 

What, then, do you offer Israel was to do? Continue to allow tons of explosives and rockets to enter the Gaza strip when these rockets are *used* against Israeli civilians?

 

About 100 trucks of Humanitarian Aid trucks enter the strip EVERY DAY. The idea that Israel blocks those is blatantly false; Israel didn't demand the flotilla be diverted away from the strip in an attempt to prevent humanitarian aid supplies, it demanded the supplies be checked - with the supervision of the flotilla organizers.

 

Instead, the flotilla declared they don't care about supplies, they care about breaching the blockade. Whether you think the blockade is legal or not (and, even if you disagree with Dershowitz, you can at least see the situation isn't as clear cut as it initially sounds) is not relevant to the case at hand; as was said in this thread many times: Either you are a peaceful activist or you intend to use violence. From the videos, the conduct of the flotilla (refusing to answer the requests to stop), and from the equipment found on the sixth ship, and from the declarations of the "activists" on the flotilla itself, it's quite clear the humanitarian aid was low priority -- making a point of "martyrdome" (their words, not mine) was the higher one, and breaching the blockade - apparently, violently - was the top.

 

 

It's easy to switch from one claim of wrongdoing to another. Israel is *far* from being perfect, and we can find many examples of that, as are the Palestinians. But this particular thread is about the flotilla, and both sides' actions in regards to that. We are all discussing how horrible Israel is, which is fine (Israelis do the same inside Israel, believe it or not, it *is* a democracy for the most part), but we seem to forget that by saying "THIS WAS WRONG!" we should come up with what would've been the RIGHT thing to do.

 

I'm not sure that I see a good alternative in this case, honestly, other than, perhaps, anticipating heavy violent resistence from the sixth ship and stopping it another way. Not sure how that's done at sea, though.. would we really all be "more satisfied" if Israeli navy rammed this ship? I think not.

 

So.. fine.. let's assume Israel was the horrific horrible bad bad evil responder here. What's your alternative? What was it to do instead?

 

 

~moo

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And that gives them the authority to preemptively raid ships in international waters?

 

No, it would be the international laws that give them permission to attack ships in the described situation (violating a blockade, ignoring orders to stop, resisting search & seizure). Note they only captured the ship -- they would have been withing their rights to attack it once it had resisted seizure. No, it's not a random raid. It's called a blockade for a reason. If Gaza disagrees with the blockade they would be within their rights to declare war over it.

 

JohnB summed it up nicely in post 22. In addition to what he said, yes,neutral ships may be captured if attempting to breach a blockade, so long as they are not in neutral waters. See number 146 on the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.


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Don't misunderstand me; both sides are wrong, but the numbers of deaths show which side is more wrong.

 

Not in the least. The number of deaths just shows that when it comes to lethal violence, armed Israeli commandos are far superior to poorly (but still lethally) armed mobs of protesters (or possibly martyrs).

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So, it's OK to be a bully if you are better equipped?

If your enemy is prepared to kill themselves then you don't need to do it for them.

I'm pretty sure that both sides subscribe to the idea of "an eye for an eye". They just don't seem to do that in practice.

I was, btw, looking at the more general history of the conflict where the death toll is decidedly one sided.

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Why can't we live together?

Mooeypoo, you are very sensible. IMO you have no reason to try defend the undefendable. As you said in your firsts posts, you are a citizen, as I am, as we are. You have been throwned in a situation you have no command at, as I am, as we are. If you were born palestinians, now you would be in the west bank supporting a situation you have no command at.

What to do instead? Did someone asked you? Did you give the command for the assault? No. Nor did I nor anyone here around. You are not responsible for your country.

 

People are dead.

 

Shame on us.

 

All of us.

 

There is no reason to support anyone. People are dead. Mothers & fathers are crying. you must know about that.

 

It was not an accident, not a disease, not a natural catastrophe. Man decided. It is not important if Man was Israeli or Turkish or Serbian. Man decided to use weapon, Man killed. It is bad. There are no excuses.

 

What do you expect when you send the army?

Do you know what happen when governements send the army instead of the police against protesting civilians? Do civilized governements dare to use the army against, even armed, civilians? No. Never. When they do, they are not civilized any more.

 

Israel is in a constant state of war. Israel cannot make the difference between a turkish civilian protester and between an ennemy: Israel is not part of the civilized countries. Israel is wrong.

What would have been the reaction of any civilized country? A civilized country would have said "oops, sorry, error, people were killed on my command: I resign.

But no, here some say that people were killed properly. Without trial, without advocate, without judgment, without appeal, condamned to death at once. Do you realize that this "at once" procedure do not exist in civilized world? Do you realize that other nations live in peace? That people from different nations & religions are free to pass the borders without even a passport? Do you realize that you are alone?

 

Now I feel better.

 

 

Israel has a wonderful talent of being the most antipathic country in the world. You probably don't realize how much. And you don't realize, or do you, how dangerous it is. Because in people's simple mind, when Israel do something, the entire population of the state of Israel, plus all the hebrews around the world, are fautive.

 

Antisemitism is growing again in occident, for numerous reasons. This was only an incident for future historians. There are other things going round against the people of Yahweh. You don't have to be a fortune teller to see that innocent people will suffer again.

 

 

Be careful.

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So, it's OK to be a bully if you are better equipped?

 

No, but you are much more likely to win.

 

If your enemy is prepared to kill themselves then you don't need to do it for them.

 

It doesn't matter how motivated they are. If someone tries to kill you then you usually try to kill them back, whether or not they care about dying.

 

I'm pretty sure that both sides subscribe to the idea of "an eye for an eye". They just don't seem to do that in practice.

 

"An eye for an eye" never does work. I've tried it when I was a kid during petty sqabbles, and the problem is that the two sides have a different idea of how much pain should be inflicted on each other to balance things out.

 

I was, btw, looking at the more general history of the conflict where the death toll is decidedly one sided.

 

Isn't that always the case when one side is using human shields and the other does not? Would Israel be any better if they used hundreds of civilians to hide their military squads behind? It would certainly balance the death toll, don't you agree?


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Do civilized governements dare to use the army against, even armed, civilians? No. Never.

 

Yes, always. Go ahead, show me a country that hasn't sent a military force against civilians. (Doing so on their own territory against their own civilians is a different story, however, although I suspect that even so every nation has done this)

 

What would have been the reaction of any civilized country? A civilized country would have said "oops, sorry, error, people were killed on my command: I resign.

 

Not really, anyone who would do that would never be in a position of command. You can't make it to a position of command without realizing that accidents and mistakes happen.

 

But no, here some say that people were killed properly. Without trial, without advocate, without judgment, without appeal, condamned to death at once. Do you realize that this "at once" procedure do not exist in civilized world?

 

Yup, as soon as you use lethal force against someone you can expect lethal force to be used on you. Using lethal force against a military unit is just plain dumb unless your intention is to die. This is just common sense regardless of the legality of the situation. That Israel was within their legal rights to board the ship, and then to attack given that the people on the ship had attacked them, is a matter of international law.

 

Incidentally, the armed escort that Turkey says they will send with their ships will change the legality of the situation, in exchange for Turkey vouching for those ships themselves. It's likely not a matter of protection as might be imagined by those not familiar with the international laws.

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The fairly simplistic answer is that the alternative to committing acts of piracy is not committing them.

If they had waited until they were in the (disputed) exclusion zone then their attack would have had slightly more legitimacy.

As it is they have added some legitimacy to Hammas's cause.

 

One thing that will be interesting to do is wait until the people who were involved get home and can tell their side of the story.

 

re.

"It doesn't matter how motivated they are. If someone tries to kill you then you usually try to kill them back, whether or not they care about dying."

Isn't that the reason the people on the boats grabbed sticks and knives to defend themselves from the helicopter-borne soldiers?

 

There's something that still puzzles me.

If it's true that "That Israel was within their legal rights to board the ship, and then to attack given that the people on the ship had attacked them, is a matter of international law." then why?

There was no evidence that the boats were delivering anything but a propaganda victory. It's hard to see a few more sticks and knives as being a significant boost to "the war effort".

Why is it legal for Israel to forcibly board a ship in international waters and then kill people who seek to defend their ship?

Would the situation have been legally different if the boats had been, for example, American or British?

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The fairly simplistic answer is that the alternative to committing acts of piracy is not committing them.

Ignoring, for a moment, the inaccurate depiction of piracy (look at the previous posts about international law), this 'alternative' comes with the price of having -- at a very HIGH risk -- explosives and rockets coming into the hands of people who use them against civilians and prmise to use them against civilians. You would really take that as an alternative...?

 

If they had waited until they were in the (disputed) exclusion zone then their attack would have had slightly more legitimacy.

As it is they have added some legitimacy to Hammas's cause.

There were 6 ships coming to shore. The longer the IDF was to wait, the more potential lives were put in danger. Approaching the shore means also getting close to civilian boats (fishing and leisure) and risking even more people.

 

I think you should read the international law again including the maritime blockade laws and who are (and aren't) exempt. Israel acted in accordance to those laws.

 

I need to run, I'll try to answer more of this when I get back later.

 

~moo

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So, it's OK to be a bully if you are better equipped?

 

No, what's okay is to defend yourself against terrorists by stopping their sources. Which is why Egypt has been participating in the blockade (and continues to do so).

 

 

If your enemy is prepared to kill themselves then you don't need to do it for them.

 

Yes, you do, because they want to take you with them.

 

 

If they had waited until they were in the (disputed) exclusion zone then their attack would have had slightly more legitimacy.

 

I disagree. The international outcry would have been exactly the same, because it's based on the misconception that these were innocent people who did nothing but try to help others, and were attacked for their efforts.

 

Aided, of course, by pacifists and appeasers who don't understand the nature of or motivation for terrorism, and think we can all just "get along". At least until a terrorist sticks a gun in their face.

 

kids-with-guns_1243524i.jpg

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The fairly simplistic answer is that the alternative to committing acts of piracy is not committing them.

If they had waited until they were in the (disputed) exclusion zone then their attack would have had slightly more legitimacy.

As it is they have added some legitimacy to Hammas's cause.

So, in the interest of public relations, they should have waited until they'd be forced to sink the vessels, killing nearly everyone, because by acting in the "gray area waters" where jurisdiction is unclear they "look worse" no matter how many lives it saves?

 

There's a lot of layers to consider to successfully navigate this tangled issue:

 

Israel claims to enforce the blockade with that many ships, they would have either had to board them where they did, or sink them closer in.

We can debate (A) whether this is true or not, and (B) whether they believed it was true or not, and © whether the blockade is justified separately... but we can't ignore that (i) as of now, there is a legal internationally recognized blockade (ethical or not) which includes military action to enforce (ii) the vessels were not trying to politically lift the blockade, but actively disrupt and usurp a military operation.

 

Maybe we decide Israel is full of it when they say the blockade would have cost more lives if they enforced it closer to their shores. However, unless that is settled, we can't dismiss it. It leaves the options of:

 

1) Letting the ships run the blockade

2) Stopping them where they did, with the results we already saw

3) Boarding the ones that they could, sinking the ones they couldn't at a high cost to life.

 

For the record, it would be easy to say that "morally, it's not worth killing people over" and let them run the blockade. However, that is a different story. They have a legal blockade at this time - a military operation. If we want to condemn them for having a blockade at all, we should be clear on that. We as the international community can't really say on the one hand "okay, you have your blockade" and then be critical when the bloody mess that comes hand in hand with such an operation gets messy.

 

There's something that still puzzles me.

If it's true that "That Israel was within their legal rights to board the ship, and then to attack given that the people on the ship had attacked them, is a matter of international law." then why?

There was no evidence that the boats were delivering anything but a propaganda victory. It's hard to see a few more sticks and knives as being a significant boost to "the war effort".

 

For the record, it's legal for the US military to shoot anyone approaching a US Naval vessel "ala USS Cole" even if it turns out they aren't packed with explosives.

What is determined later does not change the rules at the time. Engaging military vessels or attempting to disrupt military operations are hazardous to your health. We can't forget these people were doing just this.

 

A blockade is a military operation, defended with military force. If the parameters "should be" that boats bringing no "war effort" goods ought to be allowed to enter then the nature of the blockade should be changed.

As it stands now, it's as locked down as a quarantine zone by military force.

Why is it legal for Israel to forcibly board a ship in international waters and then kill people who seek to defend their ship?

Would the situation have been legally different if the boats had been, for example, American or British?

 

Legally it wouldn't be any different. If their goal was to break through the blockade, they should use either stealth or superior military force - without one of those you will die unless the opposing military is confident they can choose to use non-lethal force and still be successful in conducting their operations.

 

From all the information so far, their goal was not to break the blockade, but to provoke hostilities to encourage the world to take the view that "this blockade is not worth the human lives it costs" to enforce.

They wanted an engagement - and they wanted to fail. They wanted non-lethal force to be impossible, so they could show that this blockade requires lethal force to enforce.

 

 

 

What bothers me the most, is they went as "protesters" which, generally are arrested and detained. We tend to tolerate and use non-lethal force against protesters as they tend to not try to directly threaten the military operation, just force them to act and detain them. Again, this is the sort of thing Gandhi did.

The fact is if you are going to interfere with a military operation and you will use lethal force to carry out your interference, you are not protesters. That is guerrilla warfare and a whole other game.

 

I would even respect them if that was their stated goal - but they abused the term "protester" and continue to. They are playing both sides of the line between protester-victim and combatant and that is a reprehensible.

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Please explain how an Australian journalist who is definately a non-combatant is shot and wounded during this raid? It's obvious to anyone that Israel did not use restraint. Reports from other Australians that were detained from the boats is that snipers shot people from the helicopters circling overhead and that this occured before any soldiers had boarded.

 

http://www.news.com.au/world/aussie-photographer-kate-geraghty-tasered-during-flotilla-raid/story-e6frfkyi-1225874808220

 

"Once the commandos boarded the vessel, one of their first acts was to seize all communication equipment, cameras and memory cards."

 

Whilst I'm sure this is prudent military proceedure to stop locations being transmitted, it also means that all video footage currently released is from Israeli sources and likely to be staged or to only show that which they wish you to see to defend their position, and explains why the Al Jazeera footage is only bits of cut together footage showing that which they were able to send off before being jammed or managed to hide somewhere.

Edited by Double K
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The fairly simplistic answer is that the alternative to committing acts of piracy is not committing them.

 

When someone asks for alternatives, they usually mean things that are already being done (or in this case, already not being done). In any case, it is impossible that Israel is committing piracy.

 

If they had waited until they were in the (disputed) exclusion zone then their attack would have had slightly more legitimacy.

 

How would that have made it any more legitimate? From my understanding of the laws, doing this would have been irresponsible and not added any legitimacy.

 

As it is they have added some legitimacy to Hammas's cause.

 

In the eyes of many people, yes.

 

One thing that will be interesting to do is wait until the people who were involved get home and can tell their side of the story.

 

I hope a few of them have video/photographic evidence, because if their purpose is what it appears to be, their claims will have no credibility.

 

"It doesn't matter how motivated they are. If someone tries to kill you then you usually try to kill them back, whether or not they care about dying."

Isn't that the reason the people on the boats grabbed sticks and knives to defend themselves from the helicopter-borne soldiers?

 

Of course not. It is the reason why you don't attack armed soldiers unless they are trying to kill you or you want to die. They had neither the means nor the ability to defeat, nor the legal right to attack, the soldiers who were carrying out a legal operation. An operation that these people knew was legal, or at least would have been ridiculously stupid to not know (ie, trying to break a blockade without looking up the relevant international laws).

 

There's something that still puzzles me.

If it's true that "That Israel was within their legal rights to board the ship, and then to attack given that the people on the ship had attacked them, is a matter of international law." then why?

There was no evidence that the boats were delivering anything but a propaganda victory. It's hard to see a few more sticks and knives as being a significant boost to "the war effort".

Why is it legal for Israel to forcibly board a ship in international waters and then kill people who seek to defend their ship?

 

In short, because blockades are not optional.

 

Would the situation have been legally different if the boats had been, for example, American or British?

 

No, but it would have been practically different, in that the US or Britain might declare war on anyone attacking their ships (whether or not they were in their legal rights to do so). Its a benefit of being a citizen of a country with a lot of power.

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I think maritime law is a little more complicated than what is being made out here.

 

Just because they (israel) may deem they had a case to enter the boat doesn't mean they actually do, or were within their rights to do so where they did it. Had the boat been within the restricted zone, all bets are off, however it clearly was not, and having declared an intent to violate the zone does not actually make it so. I believe thought crimes are not enforceable on the high-seas as well as on the ground. Conspiracy to committ crime is, but thats another story.

 

Recently an 'activist' boarded a japanese whaling vessel - Shonun Maru (on the high seas) in order to serve a summons for the sinking of his ship the Adi Gill. He boarded the vessel with no other pretense than to serve this legal summons. He was arrested, detained, and now facing jail as boarding a vessel on the high seas without permission to come aboard is in fact an act of piracy.

 

Simple fact here is that this happened in international waters. Whether they had intent to cross or not is not the issue, this is an argument they can never win. The law presumes you are innocent, not the other way around.

They are within their right in international waters to refuse being boarded. They are also in their right to attack anyone boarding their vessel as they are considered pirates on the high seas. Israel is in the wrong, they handled it badly, and now are hiding behind "terrorism" a dangerous slippery slope of pre-emptive strike goodness that america invented.

 

Article 22:(pp 358)

There is no duty under customary international law for enemy merchant vessels to submit to visit and search. In fact an enemy merchant ship may resist the exercise of that right but in doing so exposes itself to the risk of being destroyed.

The exercise of the right of visit and search is, however, subject to certain rules.

... all persons on board must be placed in safety, and all ship's papers and other documents which the parties interested consider relevant for the purpose of deciding on the validity of the capture must be taken on board the warship.

 

I also bring your attention to page 360 of the same document regarding the treatment of wounded parties, which Israel did not abide by according to accounts of eye witnesses on board.

 

And before you complain about it pertaining to submarines, it does not, it merely includes submarines as a belligerent merchant vessel.

Edited by Double K
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