I think this is the first time I’ve written about Israel on this blog. I try to stay on topic here, but sometimes, something angers me so much that I can’t help but throw my two cents in. A second disclaimer- my views on Israel have been formed by reading Noam Chomsky, and firmed by the continual confirmation of his ideas through the escalation in current events. The attack on the Free Gaza flotilla is quite obviously just the symptom of a larger injustice occurring.
Now, there’s no doubt that what happened on Sunday was illegal, as Pierre Tristam writes.
The Israeli military assaulted by ship and air a flotilla of aid ships heading for the Gaza Strip, 70 miles off shore, in international waters, in the Mediterranean Sea. Say what you will aboutIsrael’s blockade of Gaza, or about Israel’s “right” to intercept and forbid ships from breaking it. Accept even that ridiculous premise if you like (ridiculous, because Israel is under UN orders to let humanitarian supplies through). Israel’s attack of ships in international waters was illegal. It might have been a different story if the attack had taken place in Israeli or Palestinian waters. But it didn’t. It took place in international waters. What Israel did on those ships, which were carrying 10,000 tons of aid and 600 people, including a Nobel laureate, was, from the evidence gathered so far, criminal.
Tristam continues, correctly, by condemning the NYT’s rhetoric on the attack:
The New York Times, in an astoundingly obtuse line from Isabel Kershner, The Times’ Jerusalem correspondent, called the world’s criticism of Israel “a propaganda coup” for Hamas, thus immediately denigrating that criticism by association…
Here, the dead are blamed, byEhud Barak, architect of the 2009 demolition of Gaza, on the “political provocation” by anti-Israeli forces.
Political provocation? Since when is being political, which is by definition non-violent, an act of war warranting assault and murder on the high seas?
That’s exactly right. Without a doubt, the purpose of the flotilla was to bring attention to one of the gravest injustices in modern society, an injustice that the United States, in particular, refuses to take a strong stand against. As are most acts in the public arena, the flotilla’s attempted aid delivery was deeply political. However, it was also deeply heroic- the participants were aware of what might happen, and bravely forged on, only to have their worst fears met by Israel’s iron hand.
The deaths of 16 civilans, though, will not be in vain. I firmly believe that the attention brought by this will be another chink in the status quo. It would not surprise me if this attack turned out to be the tipping point for bringing justice to Gaza. The Israel response will turn out to be as short-sighted as their foreign policy, through which they unnecessarily court enemies in troubling times.