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New Israeli flotilla attack video 16, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Some parts of this video are a bit difficult to watch.

Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara, May 31st 2010 // 15 min. from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo.

This is the latest video from the Israeli flotilla attack. Some things I learned:

  • The boat was a lot larder than I first realised
  • There were SIGNIFICANTLY more people on board than I first realised
  • This video mooching around what I’d guess to be a fair bit of the ship gave no evidence whatsoever of any quasi-militias on board. The worst was a guy – quite literally – flicking something at an Israeli helicopter with a tiny hand-held catapult. A bit pathetic and pointless really.
  • This video shows what I imagine to be a majority of the people on board having nothing whatsoever to do with brandishing any weapons or attacking anyone. Most people seemed to be holding cameras, offering first-aid and generally milling around.
  • The caveat to some of the above points being that this video does not cover any struggles/fighting between Israelis and others. Yet, my point overall has been and still is that the vast majority of people on board wanted no fight to break-out. I’ve no doubt that some were looking for a confrontation, but, I suggest, that such people are not in the majority.

On the flotilla 5, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Two quick thoughts on the flotilla saga:

1.  Why doesn’t Obama send a ship filled with humanitarian supplies to Gaza? The U.S. could also, to avoid difficulties, take the aid from the Irish ship currently motoring towards Gaza, verify that it’s all aid and not money or weapons for Hamas and deliver it. The Israelis would thus have a guarantee from the U.S. that no nefarious stuff is getting through and the U.S. could begin to repair their wholly tarnished reputation (and do the right thing).

2. This sort of issue seems to divide and blind people like no other. Why can one side not say that the overwhelming majority of people and cargo were/was there for purely humanitarian reasons. There were, however, some people looking for trouble and some contraband. What can’t the other side say that this was a wholly botched and poorly thought out operation – mea culpa – and that a few chiefs need to go? However, we resolutely stick to the overriding principle that we need to make sure that we check stuff going into Gaza.

Both sides so implacably asserting that they are 100% correct makes them both sound absurd. Though, on this occasion, I’ve got to say that Israel sounds especially daft.

Mark Steel on the Flotilla 2, June 2010

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Mark Steele on the Flotilla debacle:

It’s time the Israeli government’s PR team made the most of its talents, and became available for hire. Then whenever a nutcase marched into a shopping mall in somewhere like Wisconsin and gunned down a selection of passers-by, they could be on hand to tell the world’s press “The gunman regrets the loss of life but did all he could to avoid violence.” Then various governments would issue statements saying “All we know is a man went berserk with an AK 47, and next to him there’s a pile of corpses, so until we know the facts we can’t pass judgement on what took place.”

To strengthen their case the Israelis have released a photo of the weapons they found on board, (which amount to some knives and tools and wooden sticks) that the naive might think you’d expect to find on any ship, but the more astute will recognise as exactly what you’d carry if you were planning to defeat the Israeli army…

…logical as the statement from the Israeli PM’s spokesman – “We made every possible effort to avoid this incident.” Because the one tiny thing they forgot to do to avoid this incident was not send in armed militia from helicopters in the middle of the night and shoot people. I must be a natural at this sort of technique because I often go all day without climbing off a helicopter and shooting people, and I’m not even making every possible effort.

If this incident had been carried about by Iran, or anyone we were trying to portray as an enemy, so much condemnation would have been spewed out it would have created a vast cloud of outrage that airlines would be unable to fly through.

But as it’s Israel, most governments offer a few diplomatic words that blame no one, but accept the deaths are “regrettable”. They might as well have picked any random word from the dictionary, so the news would tell us “William Hague described the deaths as ‘hexagonal'”, and a statement from the US senate said “It’s all very confusing. In future let’s hope they make every effort to avoid a similar incident.”

Fast roping 101 2, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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This fantastic and helpful little diagram is taken from Abu Muqawama’s tip-top blog over at CNAS.

Hat tip: MEI Editor

Israel’s video of the flotilla 1, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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A few thoughts:

  • Those engaging in anti-Israeli diatribes need to stop portraying the flotilla as Mother Theresa on a boat. I’ve no doubt that some of the people on the boat knew perfectly well that the Israelis would have to do something; I think that some were counting on that fact. Indeed, they came prepared (see below)
  • Those engaging in pro-Israeli diatribes need to stop portraying the flotilla as a haven for terrorists. This sounds weak, utterly desperate and does not at all ring true.
  • In the above video from the Israeli Foreign Ministry they show the “armaments” of those on the flotilla: sling shots, a thin looking stick and a metal pipe. By highlighting this pathetic array of “weapons” the Israelis are woefully harming their own cause as they look absurdly brutish killing however many of them because they were having marbles flicked at them.
  • Clearly, someone attacking you with a pipe could be dangerous but are those on the flotilla sailing in International Waters not allowed to protect themselves? And, again, how were these vaunted soldiers so woefully unprepared?
  • This is yet another spectacular debacle for the IDF. There is just no other way to put it. Horrific over-kill pinning Israel ever more into a corner.
  • Israel cannot so continuously and so gratuitously flout International Law yet expect it to be upheld by others.
  • My overriding feelings on this topic as a whole is an utter lack of comprehension as to how a people who have suffered so much, certainly not just in the last 60 years, can inflict such suffering on others.

On the Israeli flotilla assault 31, May 2010

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Here’s Abu Muqawama’s view on Israel’s inexplicably stupid operation against the humanitarian flotilla:

If I am in charge of doing that for the Israeli Navy, I am going to assume these people are smart and are deliberately trying to provoke a crazy response from my sailors and soldiers that will produce ready-for-television images that both isolate Israel within the international community and further raise the ire of the Arabic-speaking and Islamic worlds. I mean, that is my base assumption for what this group is trying to do. So naturally, the last thing I would want my forces to do would be to overreact, right? It’s like when your convoy gets fired on inside a crowded market: the last thing you want to do is return fire with 7.62mm, killing a bunch of civilians and giving the enemy exactly the effect he was looking for.

If something does go wrong, meanwhile, I am going to have a response ready. I am going to have my very best spokespersons on international and Israeli television. I am most certainly not going to let people like Danny Ayalon provide my government’s response, right? Because a live wire like Ayalon — who the Turks already hate, with an understandable passion — will just say something incredibly crazy like how the people in the aid flotilla were terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda. (Even if you can prove this is somehow true, everyone you need to be speaking to right now — the international community, the Turkish people, the Arabic-speaking world — is just going to think you are nuts for saying it or will roll their eyes and say, “Oh, of course he’s saying that.”)

In reality, what happened today is the Israelis got their butts handed to them. The Israeli response to this aid flotilla was a fabulous gift to Hamas and Iran. (Try to imagine, if you will, the Israelis trying to go before the U.N. Security Council to gather support for sanctions on the Iranian regime right now. They would be more likely to leave New York with sanctions on their own regime!)