Summary: on Monday a flotilla of boats carrying humanitarian aid, politicians, journalists and activists from 40 different countries was attacked by Israeli commandos. Between 9 and 20 of the activists were killed. None of the Israelis were killed.
Israel claims that the boats were smuggling weapons and that they entered the boats armed with paintball guns. But when they were attacked they were forced to switch to live ammunition.
This is their official story, but there are several problems with it.
1. The Israelis have multiple camera angles on the attack, but none of the videos I’ve seen show the activists using firearms of any kind. If someone has a link to such a video please post it in the comments section.
2. Statements by Israeli spokespeople are also very careful to NOT claim that their commandos came under fire before attacking. If they were certain that they had then I believe they would waste no time in saying so.
3. Turkey (which btw is not a Muslim state, it is a secular state that has many Muslims in it) checked the boats before they left to make sure that they were not carrying any weapons. Turkey is one of Israel’s strongest allies, and is unlikely to try and support any of the terrorist groups in Gaza.
4. The Israelis are lying about believing that the flotilla carried weapons. If they had thought that they flotilla was a terrorist operation and was smuggling weapons then why did they start off with paintball guns?
If they really thought they were moving on a terrorist operation they would have had to be suicidal to go in with less-lethal weapons. The paintball guns only make sense if they knew that the people on the boats wouldn’t be armed.
5. There is no way that the activists could have known that the sounds they were hearing were from paintball guns. All they knew was that people on the boats were being shot, falling over, and crying out in pain. Under those circumstances it is reasonable to assume that they jumped to conclusions and thought that the commandos were simply massacring the people on the boats. This would be the point were they tried to attack the commandos with the chairs, clubs, knives etc.
Given Israel’s record for massacres the idea is sadly not that strange.
6. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who I consider to be almost beyond reproach, was a supporter of the flotilla because he believed it to be an above board, humanitarian mission. He has further strengthened his support by condemning the attack in no uncertain terms.
7. Even if the Israeli story is true it STILL doesn’t make any sense.
There were no weapons being smuggled on those ships. Even Israel has now admitted this fact. They say that they thought there might be weapons there, but as I mentioned above that doesn’t make sense given that they went in with less-lethal weapons.
So the question is: why did Israel think that it had the right to attack these ships? They weren’t bound for Israel, they were bound for Gaza, an area that Israel claims it doesn’t control.
I mentioned in a previous post that this is a slightly subtle lie. Israel pulled out of Gaza a few years ago, but since then they have surrounded the area and placed an effective siege on it. Everything that goes into Gaza needs to go through Israeli checkpoints and the Israelis have been steadily reducing the kinds of things they allow through. For example there was a period where they allowed shampoo but not conditioner.
It isn’t just luxury items that are refused. Several kinds of medication are also banned, as are certain essential food stuffs.
Why are they doing this? Simple, they are trying to make life in Gaza slowly more intolerable, and thus encourage everyone in there to leave and become refugees in Egypt or one of the other neighbouring states. This would allow them to simply annex Gaza without any fuss.
This approach is slightly different to Israel’s main strategy, which, broadly speaking, is to follow a method that has been used by colonists throughout the past few centuries.
Step 1: Claim that your citizens are under attack and that you need a buffer zone to protect them.
Step 2: Destroy the settlements of your enemy that are just inside their border. Kill or arrest everyone who tries to come back. This creates a buffer zone.
Step 3: Turn a blind eye while settlers from your country move in to occupy the now unoccupied land.
Step 4: Wait for the people whose land has been stolen to start causing trouble.
Go back to Step 1.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
The British, French, Germans, Belgians and Dutch used this all over Africa. The Americans used it all over America. Now it’s come back again in the Middle East.
Anyway, it is possible to spin almost anything, especially in a political context. So let’s look at the few facts that are not contested by either side:
There were no weapons being smuggled on those boats. The people on the boats were, largely or exclusively, humanitarian activists. Some commandos were injured, none were killed. Between 9 and 20 activists were killed, many more were injured.
[EDIT: A new article from Al Jazeera has shown pictures of what the boats were actually carrying. Here is some of it:
Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s not a rocket! Or even Team Rocket! That’s just Pikachu!
But let’s not get complacent. After a couple of evolutions that little Pokemon can become an engine of destruction!
And if Team Rocket gets their hands on him, the terrorists win.
Israel is still claiming there were weapons on the boats and that the activists are “terrorists” but right now no one believes that except Alan Dershowitz and Trevor Norwitz (and maybe Bill Maher, when Israel is involved he goes a bit strange). ]
So the US has blocked a UN move that would have investigated the flotilla massacre.
The US says that instead an “impartial” panel should investigate. And who do they think should head this “impartial” investigation? Why, ISRAEL OF COURSE!!!!!! :(
Obama, I am disappoint. ]
More fresh news.
Summary: Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu is now claiming that armed militants somehow got on board the Mavi Marmara in order to attack the Israeli troops who arrived.
The obvious problem with this is: well then why didn’t they? All of the footage that I’ve seen shows the Israelis shooting and the activists flailing about with clubs and chairs. If an “armed” group got on the ship with the intent of causing trouble then why didn’t they use their weapons?
Or is Ben’s theory that a group snuck on the boat with the intent of attacking a commando unit with chairs and so forth?
So… what? Is he saying that their commando unit was attacked by Ninjas?
I’m certain I can hear some people saying “But TTB that’s a silly thing to say: Ninjas don’t exist!”
Well that might be true, but the thing is the militants that Ben is saying boarded that boat also don’t exist.
I can’t really say that Ninjas boarded that boat, because there is no evidence that they did. But Ben also can’t say that militants did, and for exactly the same reason: there is no evidence that it is true, and it contradicts what the eye-witnesses have said.
So until some actual evidence comes forth I am saying to Binyamin Netanyahu: you are full of shit.
(and they STILL haven’t found any evidence of a weapon shipment.) ]
[Standard Disclaimer: this post was entirely my own opinion and was not paid for in any way, directly or otherwise, by anyone or anything that stands to gain in any way from the ideas expressed herein.]