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One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 1st, 2010, 10:54 am
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One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

On May 31st, at least ten people were killed when Israeli commandos intercepted a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...t/10199480.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/mid...t/10201165.stm

Obviously this is quite a controversial topic and people will hold very disparate views on the rights and wrongs of the matter. Please be respectful of the rights of others to hold a viewpoint opposed to your own and be ultra-cautious to avoid inflammatory language.

Some questions to get you started:

1. Do you think the ships carrying aid to Gaza provoked Israeli intervention by heading for Gazan waters despite the Israeli blockade or do you think their mission was entirely justifiable?

2. Do you believe that the convoy of ships was carrying only humanitarian aid or do you believe it may also have been conveying arms?

3. If the Israeli commandos did indeed (as has been reported) board the ships in international waters, which is against international maritime law, do you think this was justifiable?

4. In the face of the hostile reception the Israeli commandos received when they boarded the vessels, do you think they were justified in opening fire on the activists and do you think this was a proportionate response to the level of violence they had encountered?

5. What do you think of Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to international criticism over the incident?

6. What do you think of Turkey’s response to the incident?

7. What do you think of the US’s response so far to the crisis?

8. What do you think of the response of other world leaders?

9. What action (if any) do you think the UN and/or individual countries should take against Israel over this incident?

10. What action do you think Israel should take?

11. Turkey has, up until now, been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. What long-term impact do you think this incident will have on relations between Israel and Turkey, international relations generally and/or the security of the region?


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  #2  
Old June 1st, 2010, 11:16 am
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

1. Do you think the ships carrying aid to Gaza provoked Israeli intervention by heading for Gazan waters despite the Israeli blockade or do you think their mission was entirely justifiable?

They certainly provoked intervention, but that does not necessarily mean that carrying aid is not justifiable. Most estimates put the amount of aid allowed into Gaza at less than a quarter of what is actually needed.

2. Do you believe that the convoy of ships was carrying only humanitarian aid or do you believe it may also have been conveying arms?

Useless to speculate, but given the type of people on it I find the idea of it carrying arms pretty unlikely.

3. If the Israeli commandos did indeed (as has been reported) board the ships in international waters, which is against international maritime law, do you think this was justifiable?

When it comes to Maritime Law, rules really are more like guidelines. If Israel thought that there was real danger they would do it again. Same with a whole number of people, but I really don't accept that there actually was danger from these ships.

4. In the face of the hostile reception the Israeli commandos received when they boarded the vessels, do you think they were justified in opening fire on the activists and do you think this was a proportionate response to the level of violence they had encountered?

No. And if by violence you mean basic protest and blockading then definitely no.

5. What do you think of Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to international criticism over the incident?

I haven't really looked into it. I will do so and comment.

6. What do you think of Turkey’s response to the incident?

Well since it is Turkish citizens who died, they aren't exactly happy. Turkey is one of Israel's few Islamic allies so it's probably not a great idea to lose them.

7. What do you think of the US’s response so far to the crisis?

I don't particularly care since they aren't involved.

8. What do you think of the response of other world leaders?

Ditto.

9. What action (if any) do you think the UN and/or individual countries should take against Israel over this incident?

See what Israel's actual response is first.

10. What action do you think Israel should take?

Presumably there will have to be some sort of enquiry.

11. Turkey has, up until now, been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. What long-term impact do you think this incident will have on relations between Israel and Turkey, international relations generally and/or the security of the region?

For Turkey I think it rather depends on what the EU do. Also I think it is spurious to entirely characterise Turkey as a 'Muslim ally' (although I did it as well earlier). Sure they are majority Islamic but they have a generally secular government and are not as culturally Islamic as many places. The point is that I don't think that Turkey or other less middle-eastern nations such as Indonesia etc have a big influence on the Middle-Eastern Islamic block.


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  #3  
Old June 1st, 2010, 11:40 am
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

The Dutch foreign secretary was pretty angry at Israel's actions, two Dutch citizens, one student doing reseach for her PHD about peaceful solutions to the Israel/Palestine conflict, were captured during Israel's raid and are now in jail.

That said, I think Israel should realize they are not increasing their popularity in the world and angering allies is just plain stupid. I don't buy their statement that they were attacked.


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  #4  
Old June 1st, 2010, 11:47 am
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

This is VERY tricky indeed.
No easy answers, but here is an attempt to give some of my own:

1. Do you think the ships carrying aid to Gaza provoked Israeli intervention by heading for Gazan waters despite the Israeli blockade or do you think their mission was entirely justifiable?

A difficult queston to start with. Generally, I don't think it's a good idea to carry out protests in this way - it's peaceful enough on the surface, but also with a full knowledge that there could be confrontation. And sailing into somebody's territorial waters with the intent to break their laws (however unfair) is a difficult issue. Of course, they didn't get as far as Israel's territorial waters, but that's another issue.

However, I have not seen enough information either way to make up my mind on whether they were armed or not. My sense at the moment is that they were indeed doing this with peaceful intent.

Of course, the question is also what you do if a country oppresses a region in a way that I personally find outrageous, and there seems to be no other way of doing something about it.

Personaly, I'd prefer the kind of sanctions which in the end helped bring down Arpartheit in South Africa - but with the US being paralysed on that we won't ever be able to do it. So I understand the motives of the people on the Turkish ships, although I am not convinced about their actions.


2. Do you believe that the convoy of ships was carrying only humanitarian aid or do you believe it may also have been conveying arms?

I don't think they were carrying arms - and so far even Israel doesn't seem to have claimed this in a very serious way (for me that's the best indication). But I guess we'll have to wait to find out to be 100% certain.


3. If the Israeli commandos did indeed (as has been reported) board the ships in international waters, which is against international maritime law, do you think this was justifiable?

No. With their military superiority at least they should have waited till they entered territorial waters. It just reinforces the image of Israel as a country that isn't bothering with international law. Which only damages Israel. Surely, the outcome on the ground wouldn't have been different if they'd have waited for a bit, and the diplomatic case would have been much stronger for them?

I don't have enough knowledge of maritime law - does this count as piracy?


4. In the face of the hostile reception the Israeli commandos received when they boarded the vessels, do you think they were justified in opening fire on the activists and do you think this was a proportionate response to the level of violence they had encountered?

I can't answer that - I haven't seen enough information to work out who did what and when. The reports are too contradictory.

Essentialy, if the people on the ships were armed with proper weapons (not counting kitchen knives or sticks, but guns of some description) then I'd say the use of force is justified. But we can't know that yet.

If the Israelis shot first, in international waters, this will complicate things, I would expect.



5. What do you think of Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to international criticism over the incident?

As always, not a lot. My personal opinion of the man is that he is a pretty extreme right-winger whose rigid policies are doing Israel a lot of damage and are, inf act, endangering Israel's future. I am rather sad about that.



6. What do you think of Turkey’s response to the incident?

Haven't seen enough to be certain.
It's a bit tricky to work out how far the government can support the actions of an organisation which deliberately tries to intrude into another country (however honourable their motives, that's tricky diplomatic territory).

However, if Turkish ships were attacked, and Turkish citizens killed in international waters, they pretty much have to resort to a very strong diplomatic response, whatever the background. In such a case, their duty to protect their citizens has to come first. The case would be different, IMHO, if the boats had been taken in Israeli waters.


7. What do you think of the US’s response so far to the crisis?

Haven't seen much of it. As always, it'll be lukewarm and anything but helpful.
The US is paralysed when it comes to Israel - it was easy to see this from the way in which Netanyahu allows himself to mess with them like no other country's leader would dare.


8. What do you think of the response of other world leaders?

Haven't looked into it enough. I think it's right for the UK to have expressed concern (another diplomatic formula, of course, and I think it hits the right level for Britian, which is really just a bystander in this case, even if at least one Brit was allegedly involved).


9. What action (if any) do you think the UN and/or individual countries should take against Israel over this incident?

I think this incident alone is just a small matter.
There should finally be a chance to hold Israel to account for breaking international law over and over again.

At the same time, I would hope that somehow Israel could see some sense. IMHO, this hawkish behaviour is a route to self-destruction, and this worries me. There is now way that Israel can survive in the long run if it loses all chance of international sympathy by breaking humanitarian rules and international laws left right and centre - and their rate of doing this seems to be accelerating.



10. What action do you think Israel should take?

Difficult. They can't lose face by backing down immediately. I understand that.
Slowly allowing more (TIGHTLY CONTROLLED) humanitarian aid into Gaza might be a start.
In the end they'll have to learn to abide by the same rules as the rest of us instead of believing that they can always hide behind their rhetoric as a threatened underdog. Seriously, who should believe that of a state with an estimated 100+ nuclear warheads?



11. Turkey has, up until now, been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. What long-term impact do you think this incident will have on relations between Israel and Turkey, international relations generally and/or the security of the region?

As I said above - Israel is displaying hawkish behaviour without much thought about friends it might need to keep on side. The forged passports were one such example, hitting a number of staunchly friendly nations which are no longer quite so enthusiastic.

Taking on Turkey in this way is another one of those crazy actions. At least do them the courtesy to take on the ships in territorial waters, to spare Turkey intense diplomatic pressure. They've backed Turkey into a corner and forced them to be unfriendly. Just seems unwise to me.

Israel can't expect all countries to take anything it does lying down as the US seems to be doing (in spite of the good work of JStreet).

I am worried. The Israelis are sawing on the branch they are sitting on, and that can't be good. I want Israel to survive, and I don't think its current government is doing its best to ensure the country's suvival.


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  #5  
Old June 1st, 2010, 11:53 am
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Well, I'll try sometimes to show where I took my information, but the links will probably be in Spanish; my apologizes for those who don't understand it.

1. Do you think the ships carrying aid to Gaza provoked Israeli intervention by heading for Gazan waters despite the Israeli blockade or do you think their mission was entirely justifiable?

Humanitarian aid has other channels to enter Gaza (see here); it does every day, so breaking the blockade was, IMO, completely unnecessary if the goal was taking aid to Gaza.

On the other hand, we have an expedition that includes a Turkish TV team that timely broadcasts the assault live, and well-known people like writer Henning Mankell (see here), and which organizers refused to carry a letter from his father to the Israeli soldier abducted by Hamas in 2006 (here), which would have also been quite humanitarian. Perhaps I'm nasty-minded, but the flotilla looked more propagandistic than humanitarian to me, though many of its members would go in good faith.

2. Do you believe that the convoy of ships was carrying only humanitarian aid or do you believe it may also have been conveying arms?

I don't think it improbable at all. It wouldn't be the first time that humanitarian channels are used to smuggle arms into a trouble spot. Not just Palestine; it happened before in Indochina, Afghanistan, Irak...


3. If the Israeli commandos did indeed (as has been reported) board the ships in international waters, which is against international maritime law, do you think this was justifiable?

No, it's not justifiable; they should have waited for the ship to be in Israeli waters. Even if the operation is justifiable, the place is not.

4. In the face of the hostile reception the Israeli commandos received when they boarded the vessels, do you think they were justified in opening fire on the activists and do you think this was a proportionate response to the level of violence they had encountered?

The proportionate response thing is very nice on paper, but if you are on a ship at night and you and you're partners are outnumbered (watch here and here)and attacked with knives, rods and molotov cocktails, the proportionate response is the one that stops those people from hurting you. And if you're carrying a gun, you'll have to use it, unless you can stop the fight long enough to call the helicopter you dropped from and ask them to send you a rod and a molotov to balance the fight.

5, 6, 7, 8

I haven't had time to listen to them all, so this will have to wait.

9. What action (if any) do you think the UN and/or individual countries should take against Israel over this incident?

First of all, get things clear and check everything: if the Israeli ships actually warned the flotilla before boarding it; if there were other channels to get that aid to Gaza; if the ship carried arms; if the soldiers were attacked... Then they'll be able to decide with a good basis.

10. What action do you think Israel should take?

I'm not sure of that. Whatever they do will bring problems: if they tighten controls, blockage, etc, it will be bad for their image and they'll receive still more international pressure; if they do nothing and just apologize, it will bring them more trouble in the future; if they lessen the blockage, then Hamas will get more smuggle arms (i don't know whether there were arms this time, but they'll be in the future).

11. Turkey has, up until now, been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. What long-term impact do you think this incident will have on relations between Israel and Turkey, international relations generally and/or the security of the region?

For the security of the region, terrible. If it gets proved that the organizers of the flotilla have connections with Hamas and the Turkish government supports them, then I think that conversations for Turkey joining the European Union should be immediately cancelled (I think that Turkey shouldn't belong to the EU in any case, but that's only my opinion; this would be a matter of security).


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  #6  
Old June 1st, 2010, 12:26 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hes View Post
The Dutch foreign secretary was pretty angry at Israel's actions, two Dutch citizens, one student doing reseach for her PHD about peaceful solutions to the Israel/Palestine conflict, were captured during Israel's raid and are now in jail.
The Australian government ureservedly condemned the Israeli action. Coming on the heels of the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over the passport issue, it is uncommon for an Australian government to be so vocal.

That an Australian was shot and four others (including two journalists are in detention) no doubt has something to do with the strength of the response from a traditionally pro-Israel (and at times overtly Zionist) party.

Full text from the press conference is here (at very bottom after the domestic stuff).

Quote:
That said, I think Israel should realize they are not increasing their popularity in the world and angering allies is just plain stupid. I don't buy their statement that they were attacked.
Even from the footage released by the IDF indicates that the protesters didn't do anything until they were attacked. Under international law, crews are allowed to defend their vessels if attacked in international waters (given that the Israelis weren't acting in a manner covered by the international law).

Even if the Israel were justified in boarding the flotilla, the force was disproportionate in what was supposed to be a police action.

The condemnation has also been pretty strong within elements of the Israeli media.

Even the JPost is less than wholly enthusiastic but still unfairly branding the everyone on the flotilla as 'terrorists'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MmeBergerac View Post
Humanitarian aid has other channels to enter Gaza (see here); it does every day, so breaking the blockade was, IMO, completely unnecessary if the goal was taking aid to Gaza.
Nowhere near enough is getting through the blockade:

""On good days, 120 truckloads of goods get into Gaza. But the normal daily requirement, including commercial traffic, is a minimum of 500. Many humanitarian workers, including most International NGOs, continue to be refused entry" which is in contravention of Security Council Resolution 1860 "which paid particular attention to the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance"."

John Holmes, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

"All of the following items have been rejected at one point, and later allowed in only after it became an embarrassing international issue: pasta; lentils; strawberry jam; chocolate; and halvah, a Middle Eastern sweet made of sesame. A shipment of "reinforced nutritional bars" were turned back because low-level military officials misunderstood the manifest and thought they were steel bars, which – like other building materials – are not allowed into Gaza."

Christian Science Monitor


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Old June 2nd, 2010, 1:05 am
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

1. Do you think the ships carrying aid to Gaza provoked Israeli intervention by heading for Gazan waters despite the Israeli blockade or do you think their mission was entirely justifiable?

I think the people who organized the convoy knew the Israeli's would want to inspect what they were transporting before they allowed them to land in Gaza. From reports I've read, the Israeli's offered to transport the cargo after it had been inspected, but the offer was refused. I suspect the people behind the convoy were well aware of what could / would happen.

From the reports I've read, 5 of the 6 ships were boarded and inspected without any difficulty. It was the 6th ship that had problems. I have no idea why, just noting what I've read.

2. Do you believe that the convoy of ships was carrying only humanitarian aid or do you believe it may also have been conveying arms?

I have no way of knowing that. If 5 of the 6 ships were inspected and released without incident then I suspect those 5 were carrying aid materials. The last ship is a mystery, but nothing has been released of yet indicating that it was carrying arms or soldiers.

3. If the Israeli commandos did indeed (as has been reported) board the ships in international waters, which is against international maritime law, do you think this was justifiable?


I think the Israeli's have admitted that they boarded the ships in international waters, so the issue of whether they were or were not boarded in international waters is moot. I'm not sure what maritime law says with regards to the rights of a nation to protect itself.

The people who live in Gaza have been sending mortars into Israel for some time, for reasons they believe are fully justified. They are being armed from outside the nation - either from shipments via the sea or tunnels under the border. That's the reason Israel enacted the blockade and began halting concrete shipments into Gaza.

Israel asked that all shipments to Gaza be inspected in an effort to reduce the number of weapons being sent to that region. The boats in the convoy refused inspection. I'm not sure what international law says with regards to one nation boarding and inspecting ships it believes may be arming a group it is "at war" with (for lack of a better word to describe the situation).

4. In the face of the hostile reception the Israeli commandos received when they boarded the vessels, do you think they were justified in opening fire on the activists and do you think this was a proportionate response to the level of violence they had encountered?

Not vessels, vessel - as in one of the 6. From the videos that I've seen, it appears that there was a rather pitched fight on that one ship. I can't tell one person from another on the video, so I don't know if it was just fists and spitting or knives and guns. I really have no idea.

5. What do you think of Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to international criticism over the incident?

He seemed to be defending his people.

6. What do you think of Turkey’s response to the incident?

They seemed to be defending their people.

7. What do you think of the US’s response so far to the crisis?

8. What do you think of the response of other world leaders?


They seem to be just as flabbergasted as the rest of the world. I'm not even sure flabbergasted is the correct word, but it just seems to me like many nations are kind of shocked by what happened and really at a loss to cobble together anything that will make things better. The whole situation just seems very hopeless right now.

9. What action (if any) do you think the UN and/or individual countries should take against Israel over this incident?

No clue.

10. What action do you think Israel should taken?

No clue.

11. Turkey has, up until now, been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. What long-term impact do you think this incident will have on relations between Israel and Turkey, international relations generally and/or the security of the region?

No clue. It certainly won't make things better, but I'm not sure they can get much worse.


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  #8  
Old June 2nd, 2010, 6:43 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

The Kennedy administration blockaded Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and prepared to stop any Soviet ship it considered carrying anything that might involve arming the Cubans with nuclear weapons in international waters. The Soviets turned back before the picket line was actually tested. I figure that the Isrealis were working under the same policy.

The video I saw today showed Isreali security forces dropping onto the ship with no weapons drawn and then being attacked with pipes, knives, and being thrown overboard and involved in a general melee. I'm not surprised some people were killed under the circumstances I saw on that ship. Actually, I'm surprised more weren't killed. Its a sad comment that "peace protesters" are involved in a general fight with security forces and that people let their passions lead to tragedy.

I recall a video a few years ago showing a funeral for a Palistinian protestor they claimed to have been killed by the Isrealis. In the midst of the protest and melee that followed the "dead" protester got up out of his coffin and ran for his life.

I'm just saying nothing is as it appears in the Middle East.


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Old June 3rd, 2010, 3:11 am
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordspal View Post
The Kennedy administration blockaded Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and prepared to stop any Soviet ship it considered carrying anything that might involve arming the Cubans with nuclear weapons in international waters. The Soviets turned back before the picket line was actually tested. I figure that the Isrealis were working under the same policy.
The blockade of Cuba is also illegal, pointless and counter-productive.

The blockade of Gaza would be legitimate if it were Israeli territory, not unlike the Port Act of 1774 in which the British imposed a blockade on Boston in retaliation for insurgent activities. Although the North American colonies did have alternative ports.

Quote:
The video I saw today showed Isreali security forces dropping onto the ship with no weapons drawn and then being attacked with pipes, knives, and being thrown overboard and involved in a general melee.
You must have seen a different film to the rest of the world. How do you draw a long arm? Must have big holsters.

That aside, crews and passengers on a vessel are entirely entitled to defend their craft against attack in international waters.


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Last edited by Wab; June 3rd, 2010 at 4:47 am.
  #10  
Old June 3rd, 2010, 6:56 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab View Post
The blockade of Cuba is also illegal, pointless and counter-productive.
...

The judgement of history is far different. Or are you saying that the you would rather the Soviets have won?

Quote:
The blockade of Gaza would be legitimate if it were Israeli territory, not unlike the Port Act of 1774 in which the British imposed a blockade on Boston in retaliation for insurgent activities. Although the North American colonies did have alternative ports.
Be sure to mention that to the U.N. when they allowed Iraqi ships to be boarded in international waters for weapons inspections.

Quote:
You must have seen a different film to the rest of the world. How do you draw a long arm? Must have big holsters.
I'm not sure what you mean here. If you are saying that the Isreali's had their weapons drawn as they rappelled(sp?) onto the ship, then no, I don't see any weapons drawn. (You can't hang onto a rope and hold a pistol in your hand at the same time.) I do see members of the ship's crew grabbing the rope and trying to knock the security officers off the the ropes and beating them with chairs and what appears to be pipes and one of the officers being thrown over the side.

Quote:
That aside, crews and passengers on a vessel are entirely entitled to defend their craft against attack in international waters.
Sure they can. And a security officer being beaten with a pipe has the right to defend himself. If the officers fired on them first or tried to sink their vessel them I have no problem with how the crew reacted. But if the Isrealis had wanted to sink the boat or kill them intentionally then they didn't need to board the ship to do that.

It's my opinion that the crew (worked up with moral indignation and anti-Isreali anger) let their passions get the best of them and many of them became a violent mob. Tragically, as the saying goes, you don't bring a knife to a gunfight. I'm pretty sure there was an initial overreaction by the crew unless evidence comes to light of the security officers being initially abusive.


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  #11  
Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:05 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordspal View Post
The judgement of history is far different. Or are you saying that the you would rather the Soviets have won?
No, it isn't. The Cuban blockade was just plain old dumb, the overreaction to the so-called "Red Scare" drummed up by American politicians. Wab is right. It is counterproductive and harmful to both countries. The Israeli blockade of Gaza is just more of the same. Haaretz and other Israeli newspapers have condemned the government for what it did that night. And rightfully so.


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  #12  
Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:35 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

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No, it isn't. The Cuban blockade was just plain old dumb, the overreaction to the so-called "Red Scare" drummed up by American politicians.
I'm not sure that the Soviet Union placing nuclear weapons in Cuba would have been a good thing. The blockade, for all it was worth, prevented that from happening.

Quote:
Wab is right. It is counterproductive and harmful to both countries. The Israeli blockade of Gaza is just more of the same. Haaretz and other Israeli newspapers have condemned the government for what it did that night. And rightfully so.
It's not just an Israeli blockade. Egypt is also part of the blockade. Hamas, the ruling authority in Gaza, is an internationally recognized terrorist organization. The blockade, for all that is right and wrong with it, is intended to prevent Iran from turning Gaza into an armed terrorist stronghold.

From the video that's been released it appears that the people on the 6th boat fully intended to engage in some sort of confrontation with the IDF. The whole thing is starting to smell more and more like political theater.


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  #13  
Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:49 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehawk View Post
No, it isn't. The Cuban blockade was just plain old dumb, the overreaction to the so-called "Red Scare" drummed up by American politicians. Wab is right. It is counterproductive and harmful to both countries. The Israeli blockade of Gaza is just more of the same. Haaretz and other Israeli newspapers have condemned the government for what it did that night. And rightfully so.
Okay, first off I think we are talking about two different things. I was talking about the U.S. blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis. You and Wab seem to be talking about the embargo of the last 50 years or so on Cuban products by the U.S. I agree that the embargo is debatable, but the blockade is not IMHO.

I'm not sure there was a "drummed up" Red Scare when we had thousands of Soviet tanks and the Warsaw pact threatening to invade Western Europe and we had the Berlin blockade and the invasion of Hungary and comments by Soviet leaders that they will "bury" us and our allies. The Soviet Union was a real and ongoing military and intelligence threat to the U.S. and our allies; sympathy from the Left for the Soviets not withstanding.

I'm not going to condemn security offices doing their duty and being attacked by a mob with pipes and knives and chairs.

As for "defending" their ship; the ship was not attacked, it was boarded for an inspection. There is a difference. The security officers were then attacked in performance of their duties as I understand it. If the security officers actually attacked the ship or crew first then I will stand corrected.

I'm truly sorry ppl were killed and hurt, and I thank God every day that I don't live in a country bordered by terrorist governments and quasi-terrorist politicians. And despite the mad ramblings of the extreme Left and Right in this country we have never elected as an incompetent, militant, or foolishly idealogical government as the Gazans.

As has been said in the past, "The Palestinians never miss an opprotunity to miss an opprotunity".


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  #14  
Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:04 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_mom View Post
From the video that's been released it appears that the people on the 6th boat fully intended to engage in some sort of confrontation with the IDF. The whole thing is starting to smell more and more like political theater.
I could be wrong, but that's the feeling I get from watching it, too. It seems rather like a set-up, IMHO.


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  #15  
Old June 4th, 2010, 5:33 am
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordspal View Post
...

The judgement of history is far different. Or are you saying that the you would rather the Soviets have won?
They did, well Cuba did anyway. The US had to make more concessions than the Soviets who only had to withdraw nukes from Cuba. The US had to remove its Thor and Jupiter missiles deployed in Europe and give an undertaking not to invade Cuba.

Quote:
Be sure to mention that to the U.N. when they allowed Iraqi ships to be boarded in international waters for weapons inspections.
Inspections conducted under a UN mandate are legal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_mom View Post
Hamas, the ruling authority in Gaza, is an internationally recognized terrorist organization.
They are also the internationally recognised democratically elected government.


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  #16  
Old June 4th, 2010, 12:00 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Posted by monster_mom:
From the video that's been released it appears that the people on the 6th boat fully intended to engage in some sort of confrontation with the IDF. The whole thing is starting to smell more and more like political theater.
Totally agreed. The expedition had so much publicity even before leaving Turkey that I can't help thinking it was a propaganda campaign. And seeing how things turned out, I dare say the real goal was to provoke a crisis. Why Turkey, that was trying to appear moderate and ready to join the EU, has supported it, is something that I don't understand (perhaps precisely for that reason, they tried to get advantage of Turkey's good reputation in the Western countries; nobody would have taken seriously a humanitarian expedition organized by Siria ot Iran).

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster_mom
Hamas, the ruling authority in Gaza, is an internationally recognized terrorist organization.
Quote:
Posted by Wab:
They are also the internationally recognised democratically elected government.
Both things aren't incompatible at all. You can be a terrorist and also be candidate to an election, and even being elected. We have some experience of that in Spain, to our misfortune and disgrace. And mind me, winning elections don't make them less terrorist at all.


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  #17  
Old June 4th, 2010, 12:05 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

You know something creepy? The minute I turned on to this thread, the news talked about the Flotilla.


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  #18  
Old June 4th, 2010, 12:49 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

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Originally Posted by MmeBergerac View Post
Both things aren't incompatible at all. You can be a terrorist and also be candidate to an election, and even being elected. We have some experience of that in Spain, to our misfortune and disgrace. And mind me, winning elections don't make them less terrorist at all.
I'm totally aware of that. It'd be not far wrong to say that most countries which gained inependence from their colonial masters were founded by people who were, to all intents and purposes, terrorists. Menachim Begin and Nelson Mandela, for instance.

It's just that the common expression that Hamas "seized power" implies that they don't have a popular mandate (gained in no small part from providing the services that Fatah was too corrupt to).

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordspal View Post
The Kennedy administration blockaded Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and prepared to stop any Soviet ship it considered carrying anything that might involve arming the Cubans with nuclear weapons in international waters. The Soviets turned back before the picket line was actually tested. I figure that the Isrealis were working under the same policy.
Imagine if the Soviets had the same idea during the Berlin airlift. Based on this they would have been justified in forcing the airlift planes to land in East Germany in order to inspect their cargo.


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  #19  
Old June 4th, 2010, 8:17 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab View Post
Imagine if the Soviets had the same idea during the Berlin airlift. Based on this they would have been justified in forcing the airlift planes to land in East Germany in order to inspect their cargo.
Apples and oranges.

The international blockade of Gaza is to prevent the shipment of arms to a known and recognized sponsor of terrorism (which also happens to be the ruling authority). Berlin, at the time, wasn't a source of terrorism and had not elected a terrorist organization as its ruling authority.

Furthermore, Stalin blocked Berlin to international aide shipments because he wanted Germany under his control. The Israeli's don't want Gaza - they just want the Gazans to stop bombing them.


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Last edited by monster_mom; June 4th, 2010 at 8:19 pm.
  #20  
Old June 4th, 2010, 9:53 pm
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Re: One Week Thread: Gaza Flotilla Crisis

Quote:
1. Do you think the ships carrying aid to Gaza provoked Israeli intervention by heading for Gazan waters despite the Israeli blockade or do you think their mission was entirely justifiable?
At this point I feel the issue is the manner in which Israel boarded those vessels, firstly by doing so in international waters, and secondly by aggressively storming the ships with armed masked commandos, then appearing surprised when people react with aggression towards them in return.

The blockade itself is a debacle. Part of the price of democracy is that occasionally a nation might elect a government neighbouring nations don't approve of, and yes, they may also be a terrorist organisation.

Quote:
2. Do you believe that the convoy of ships was carrying only humanitarian aid or do you believe it may also have been conveying arms?
Thus far there's no reason to believe that they were carrying arms.

Quote:
3. If the Israeli commandos did indeed (as has been reported) board the ships in international waters, which is against international maritime law, do you think this was justifiable?
No, and just like the passport scandal shows that Israel places very little importance on international law and protocols when they don't find them convienient.

Quote:
4. In the face of the hostile reception the Israeli commandos received when they boarded the vessels, do you think they were justified in opening fire on the activists and do you think this was a proportionate response to the level of violence they had encountered?
Warning shots may have been sufficient, but again the initial tactic of storming the ship with armed commandos is highly questionable. It seems to be a strategy guarenteed to cause panic and violence.

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5. What do you think of Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to international criticism over the incident?
Typical from him. Israel = Right. Rest of the world = Wrong.

Quote:
6. What do you think of Turkey’s response to the incident?
Measured and understandably bewildered given the fact that Israel seem intent on alienating one of their few allies in the region.

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7. What do you think of the US’s response so far to the crisis?
Same response as the US always gives Israel.

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8. What do you think of the response of other world leaders?
Encouraging and appropriate.

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9. What action (if any) do you think the UN and/or individual countries should take against Israel over this incident?
Quote:
10. What action do you think Israel should take?
Many, but they won't, particularly with the present leadership and unswerving backing of the United States.

Quote:
11. Turkey has, up until now, been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. What long-term impact do you think this incident will have on relations between Israel and Turkey, international relations generally and/or the security of the region?
The relationship will be harmed because Israel have made it very difficult for the Turkish government to sell the idea of cooperation with them to the Turkish people.


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