Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

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Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Iv » Mon May 31, 2010 11:10 am UTC

JERUSALEM - Israeli commandos on Monday stormed six ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on an aid mission to the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens.

The operation in international waters off the Gaza coast was a nightmare scenario for Israel that looked certain to further damage its international standing, strain already tense relations with Turkey and draw unwanted attention to Gaza's plight.

The two sides offered conflicting accounts of what happened.

A reporter on one of the boats said the Israelis fired at the vessel before boarding it. Israeli officials said the soldiers were attacked with knives, clubs and iron bars as they boarded the six vessels. The Israeli military said the violence turned deadly after one of the activists grabbed a weapon from one of the commandos. The weapon discharged, though it wasn't clear whether the activist fired it or if it went off accidentally.

"Our initial findings show that at least 10 convoy participants were killed," an Israeli military spokesman said, adding that at least four soldiers were wounded.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed regret for the deaths. However, he called the aid flotilla a "political provocation" by anti-Israel forces. Barak said the sponsors of the flotilla are violent.

However, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed shock over the incident and called on Israel to "urgently provide a full explanation."


MSNBC article here:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37423584/ns ... tn_africa/

Al-Jazeera live article (biased but updated regularly) :
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/ ... a-flotilla

tl;dr : A fleet of 6 ships containing humanitarian goods and a lot of officials from various countries that intended on publicly and (allegedly) peacefully breaking Israel's embargo on the Gaza strip was boarded tonight by Israelis forces. At least 10 (some say 19) were killed. Both side agree that this happened in international waters.

What is the legal state of such an action in the international waters ? Officially the ships are Turk. Is that a casus belli ? Is that an act of piracy ? Is there any serious source that proposes evidences that the ships were carrying threats to Israel's security ? What does the military-educated people think of this operation ? This looks like a fuckup from what I read. Why didn't they stop the ships like border patrol usually do with warning shots ? Any technical reason for that ?

I would love if we could comment intelligently on this difficult subject. Please stay technical. All the other internet forums are already full of the hate of both sides on this story.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Adamah » Mon May 31, 2010 12:01 pm UTC

This is a screw up of the highest order by Israel. I say this as an Israeli. I can't think of a worse outcome for Israel than what just happened.

Iv wrote:
What is the legal state of such an action in the international waters ? Officially the ships are Turk. Is that a casus belli ? Is that an act of piracy ? Is there any serious source that proposes evidences that the ships were carrying threats to Israel's security ? What does the military-educated people think of this operation ? This looks like a fuckup from what I read. Why didn't they stop the ships like border patrol usually do with warning shots ? Any technical reason for that ?


I'm pretty sure they did use warning shots, but the ships made it very clear that they weren't going to stop for anything. As for legality, a blockade is internationally recognized as legal. Did they have a right to do what they did? Probably. Should they have? Absolutely not. If you think people are going to get killed, just let the flotilla in. It really isn't a big deal, especially when this stuff is already being smuggled in through Egypt.

This is the latest and most serious in a series of faux pas by the Israeli government recently. I really had high hopes for peace and international stability with this administration (as historically in Israel, it's been the right-wing government that most often makes peace) but the past couple years have been nothing but PR disasters.

Honestly, what I think I'm seeing is a spiral of isolation. Israel has an innate distrust of the rest of the world. They believe that the world would sacrifice Israel rather than piss off the Arabs, who happen to be far more numerous and far more strategically significant (read: oil). In fact, they are quite justified in this belief, as Israel's short history, and the long history of the Jews, has shown. Israel, in turn, basically takes a "screw what you guys think, we're going to do what we need to do to protect ourselves". This, in turn, leads to the world's condemnation of Israel, which leads to Israel trusting the world even less, etc.

I think the outlook is rather bleak. Turkey, the long-time secular Muslim ally of Israel, is quickly abandoning the relationship. Popular opinion is turning more vocally against Israel. It's now the trendy thing to hate on Israel, especially in Europe. The Arabs see this, and I think they are even less inclined to make peace. Why should they make peace when the world is turning against Israel, and they might have a chance to reconquer the whole land?

I think Israel needs to stop thinking 1 move ahead. They need to understand that what the world thinks does matter, and that isolation from the world is far more dangerous to the state than mortars and AK47's.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Iv » Mon May 31, 2010 12:14 pm UTC

Adamah wrote:I'm pretty sure they did use warning shots, but the ships made it very clear that they weren't going to stop for anything.
Yesterday, I had read a news saying that the ships were going to stop for the night as they wanted to enter Israel borders during the day. But the current operation happened this night. Do you know if the ships were moving at the time ? I have the feeling that they were boarded before they moved.

Iv wrote:As for legality, a blockade is internationally recognized as legal.
I was under the impression that the legality of this specific blockade was contested or downright denied, internationally speaking.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Adamah » Mon May 31, 2010 12:24 pm UTC

Iv wrote:
Adamah wrote:I'm pretty sure they did use warning shots, but the ships made it very clear that they weren't going to stop for anything.
Yesterday, I had read a news saying that the ships were going to stop for the night as they wanted to enter Israel borders during the day. But the current operation happened this night. Do you know if the ships were moving at the time ? I have the feeling that they were boarded before they moved.

Iv wrote:As for legality, a blockade is internationally recognized as legal.
I was under the impression that the legality of this specific blockade was contested or downright denied, internationally speaking.


I have no doubt that it was contested by the people on those boats, but I don't think they really care about the true legality of such a blockade. The news sources I read all quote experts saying the blockade is legal, and that Israel's boarding of the ships were legal. The only question on the legality issue is whether the violence was in self-defense. Blockades are allowed in armed conflict, and they are allowed to extend to international waters. But, as I said, just because Israel could do this legally doesn't mean they should have.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Vaniver » Mon May 31, 2010 12:45 pm UTC

A reporter on one of the boats said the Israelis fired at the vessel before boarding it.
I wonder if this was a shot across their bow?
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby zombie_monkey » Mon May 31, 2010 12:47 pm UTC

Loks like a stupid provocation by Turkey. They need to keep the part of their population that they can still radicalize fired up, because most educated people are against the religious party currently in power. From what I've gleaned from media, info is just beginning to come out. Kind of weird, Turkey and Israel used to have good relations. Taht was the previous government though, I think. And they've also been purging the army of hardline secularists.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby MartianInvader » Mon May 31, 2010 1:37 pm UTC

Here's a little more on the Turkish political side of this:

The party in control of Turkey right now is very religious (Muslim), and is pushing Turkey towards a more Islamic, Iran-like form of government. They've been in power for about 3 years, since they got a huge majority in the last (crooked) general election.

Lately, for a variety of reasons, they've been losing a lot of support. Their main opposition, a more secular party, just elected a new leader who is sweeping the nation with Obama-like charisma. A lot of people were expecting them to lose power in the next election.

This, however, might be their 9/11. They're really playing this up, and amping up the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish rhetoric to fire up the Turkish people and unite them behind the government. They've cut off many relations with Israel. As I type this, crowds of thousands of angry Turks are massing around the Israeli embassies in Istanbul and Ankara.

It seems like this action has lent a lot of power to the Muslim fanatics in Turkey. I don't think they'll go as far as to declare war on Israel, but I'm not looking forward to seeing what happens next.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby BlackSails » Mon May 31, 2010 1:44 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
A reporter on one of the boats said the Israelis fired at the vessel before boarding it.
I wonder if this was a shot across their bow?


Probably, since if the navy was already given clearance to fire on the ship, its hard to imagine the commandos were not given similar authorization before they boarded.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Le1bn1z » Mon May 31, 2010 2:13 pm UTC

Answers to some questions above:

1.) Could this be causus belli? Yes, it could. But it won't be. The Americans began the War of 1812 in response to the British blockade of Napoleon and searches of ships looking for criminals, similar to what Israel was doing here.

However, Turkey is a NATO ally and is still angling on getting into the EU. It won't jeapordise its position as a senior player in international affairs and, really, the one true, honest, trusted broker between the West and Muslim world over this.

Rhetoric will flair, political and diplomatic retribution will be taken. But this is as much to assuage the extremists as to incite them.

The only interesting fork in the road would come if Turkey, in an unbelievably unlikely scenario, did something to force others to choose between it and Israel. With whom would one side? The beloved but tiny Jewish state with rich and powerful expats all over the world, or the West's one reliable ally in the East, with NATO's largest military and a population larger than any EU nation, not to mention a faster-growing economy.

IF there's one mostly Muslim populated country (Turkey has a secular government) with which Israel should not mess, its Turkey.

2.) Re: the "opening shots from Israel." I highly suspect that these were the warning shots, normally fired to warn a ship to halt, on pain of combat. Also used by the coast guards of the world against fishing trawlers. Not an act of agression. However, if these anti-Israeli protesters are anything like the ones I know, they couldn't tell a destroyer from a schooner, let alone figure out the difference between naval parlance for "stop" and "holy $*&!, buddy's trying to off me!"

3.) Regarding Turkey's ruling party, they are far less "extreme religious" than the Canadian Conservative government or the Republican or, heck, even some Democrats in the USA. They've got their "religo-nut" labels for trying to introduce in Turkey the same religious freedoms enjoyed in the West. Measures have included, for example, legalising head scarves and reducing the power of the military to control political affairs.

Hardly Brotherhood of Islam.

4.) Boarding the ship was largely an act of theatre, and everybody knew it. It was a symbolic gesture, which the Israelis needed to block for their own symbolic purposes. The parts of this drama were clear: the protesters needed to either deliver aid or provoke Israel into an atrocity (no difficult feat). Israel had the far tricker task of turning back a boat full of protesters looking for a fight, peacefully if possible. However, the right-wing government above all needed to show resolve.

Given the circumstances, this was all extremely predictable, and its difficult to see how any other outcome at all would have been possible.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby zombie_monkey » Mon May 31, 2010 2:26 pm UTC

Latest: Israel says the NGO wihch owns ship which was boarded (one of six in the convoy, the others were not aggressive) is a front for Hamas.

BTW, it's settled now that they weren't smuggling weapons, right? I don't see that aspect mentioned in the newest press releases. And I suppose they can do it more easily through the Egyptian border and not so publically?

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby MartianInvader » Mon May 31, 2010 2:43 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:3.) Regarding Turkey's ruling party, they are far less "extreme religious" than the Canadian Conservative government or the Republican or, heck, even some Democrats in the USA. They've got their "religo-nut" labels for trying to introduce in Turkey the same religious freedoms enjoyed in the West. Measures have included, for example, legalising head scarves and reducing the power of the military to control political affairs.

Hardly Brotherhood of Islam.


Well, some of the freedoms enjoyed in the west. If we're looking at freedom of expression, for example with the head scarves, we should also note their measures where they shut down every newspaper, TV station, or other media outlet that is remotely critical of their party, and arrested every military official and political opponent who might have moved to begin proceedings to oust them (a sort of impeachment process they have in Turkey). These people have been kept prisoner for years without trial.

But in any event, yes, the Akparti (ruling party) will probably just be using this to boost their domestic power in Turkey, and aren't particularly focusing on the international situation.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Le1bn1z » Mon May 31, 2010 2:46 pm UTC

zombie_monkey wrote:Latest: Israel says the NGO wihch owns ship which was boarded (one of six in the convoy, the others were not aggressive) is a front for Hamas.

BTW, it's settled now that they weren't smuggling weapons, right? I don't see that aspect mentioned in the newest press releases. And I suppose they can do it more easily through the Egyptian border and not so publically?


The problem isn't weapons; its ammo, especially artillery and rocket ammunition. Its difficult and dangerous to bring that through the tunnells, making it hard to get enough for sustained bombardment.

Besides, Hamas's powers comes as much from its position as chief distributor of food and medicine as from being the biggest bully in the schoolyars (though the latter helps it be the former.) If unable to provide for its people, the Hamas pseudo-government looses a great deal of credibility.

However, since this was more about Theatre than making a real difference in supplies, you're right to suppose that it would be unlikely they'd let a weapons bust ruin the show.

@ Martian Invader

Yes, you're right freedom of expression has always been problematic, at best, in Turkey. That makes the government autocratic to a good degree (some of those military officials, by the way, were involved in a coup, a constant threat in Turkey)

However, I was talking about religious fanaticism, which is an unfair label for the Turkish government and people. They are less "fanatical" than the USA in every measurable or demonstrable sense.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby nowfocus » Mon May 31, 2010 3:26 pm UTC

10 soldiers were injured - its hard to see how that happens without the crew getting the jump on them.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Iv » Mon May 31, 2010 3:51 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:10 soldiers were injured - its hard to see how that happens without the crew getting the jump on them.

Source ? The news reports I have state that 2 soldiers wounded. The only number "10" I have in mind was the first report of activists death.

Le1bn1z wrote:2.) Re: the "opening shots from Israel." I highly suspect that these were the warning shots, normally fired to warn a ship to halt, on pain of combat.
But this contradict yesterday news saying the ship would halt for the night and only try to force the blockade during the day. Or was yesterday a misinformation in order to make a surprise nightly crossing ?

zombie_monkey wrote:Latest: Israel says the NGO wihch owns ship which was boarded (one of six in the convoy, the others were not aggressive) is a front for Hamas.
Considering that the Hamas is the elected government in the Gaza strip, it seems logical that most NGOs had links with them.

Adamah wrote:The news sources I read all quote experts saying the blockade is legal, and that Israel's boarding of the ships were legal.
That is the most crucial question IMHO. Jordan and others have called this an act of piracy. On what grounds is it legal to board a ship on international waters ? Don't you need an international mandate for that ?

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon May 31, 2010 4:02 pm UTC

RULES OF NONVIOLENT ACTIVISM AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

1) Don't get violent. If someone comes to arrest you, go quietly knowing that your political statement is being made far and wide.

THAT IS ALL.

Seriously, this kind of incident with "Free Gaza Boats" has happened some two or three times before that I can remember, possibly more. Each time, the boats were simply boarded or towed into the Port of Ashdod, a legal and open port, and the humanitarian aid on the boats was transferred into Gaza Strip by the legal crossings. Then the activists on the boat were given a stern talking-to and deported to their home countries. What sheer idiocy inspired them to turn violent this time?

I agree that this will certainly look bad for Israel, but what the fuck are they supposed to do? These situations are being deliberately set up to give Israel only two options: a) go back on established and justified Israeli policy or b) enforce policy and look bad. This is "propaganda of the deed".
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Diadem » Mon May 31, 2010 4:11 pm UTC

Iv wrote:
A reporter on one of the boats said the Israelis fired at the vessel before boarding it. Israeli officials said the soldiers were attacked with knives, clubs and iron bars as they boarded the six vessels. The Israeli military said the violence turned deadly after one of the activists grabbed a weapon from one of the commandos. The weapon discharged, though it wasn't clear whether the activist fired it or if it went off accidentally.

No matter who's side you're on, the rule "Don't attack highly trained soldiers who are armed to the teeth and backed up by superior firepower with rudimentary weapons" seems pretty logical to me.

This is clearly a PR disaster for Israel. But it seems to be one that was carefully orchestrated by the opposing side. I don't really see what Israel could have done differently here except allow their own soldiers be killed. The whole situation is a clusterfuck. and Israel is certainly not blameless. They've made plenty of mistakes, and done some evil things. But at first read this one does not seem to be their fault.

Adamah wrote:I think the outlook is rather bleak. Turkey, the long-time secular Muslim ally of Israel, is quickly abandoning the relationship. Popular opinion is turning more vocally against Israel. It's now the trendy thing to hate on Israel, especially in Europe. The Arabs see this, and I think they are even less inclined to make peace. Why should they make peace when the world is turning against Israel, and they might have a chance to reconquer the whole land?

To be quite honest I think you're too optimistic. The conflict has been going on for 60 years and has only grown worse in this time. Meanwhile technological progression makes sure the weapons on both sides get ever more deadlier. The opinion of the world is turning against Israel, but it will never truly turn completely. Israel has too much support in both the US and Europe for that. Nor will it every completely turn against the Muslims, they've got too much sympathy for that, and we need them too much. So international response will be eternally divided, making sure hard measures against either side will never be taken. Which in turn means that neither side will ever be forced to stop.

So the conflict will keep burning, killing people every year, increasing misery every year, making both sides a little bit more bitter every year.

Eventually it will go nuclear. Then, a couple of hundred million people will die.

After that, the conflict will end.

The world will go on. Winters will be a bit colder.

I've thought about this for a very long time. Obviously it worries me. But I see no other possible outcome.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon May 31, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

No matter who's side you're on, the rule "Don't attack highly trained soldiers who are armed to the teeth and backed up by superior firepower with rudimentary weapons" seems pretty logical to me.

Actually, it turns out most of them weren't even carrying "superior firepower". According to an eyewitness account, most of the Israeli soldiers had paintball guns; only the commandos carried handguns. "Soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots," and some of the "activists" attempted to bring down a helicopter.

Oh bugger all.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby iop » Mon May 31, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

This is clearly a PR disaster for Israel. But it seems to be one that was carefully orchestrated by the opposing side. I don't really see what Israel could have done differently here except allow their own soldiers be killed. The whole situation is a clusterfuck. and Israel is certainly not blameless. They've made plenty of mistakes, and done some evil things. But at first read this one does not seem to be their fault.

Yep.

Diadem wrote:So the conflict will keep burning, killing people every year, increasing misery every year, making both sides a little bit more bitter every year.

Eventually it will go nuclear. Then, a couple of hundred million people will die.

After that, the conflict will end.

The world will go on. Winters will be a bit colder.

I've thought about this for a very long time. Obviously it worries me. But I see no other possible outcome.


How do you think it was possible to get peace in Northern Ireland, then? Also, remember the time just before Rabin was shot?

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Diadem » Mon May 31, 2010 4:47 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:
No matter who's side you're on, the rule "Don't attack highly trained soldiers who are armed to the teeth and backed up by superior firepower with rudimentary weapons" seems pretty logical to me.

Actually, it turns out most of them weren't even carrying "superior firepower". According to an eyewitness account, most of the Israeli soldiers had paintball guns; only the commandos carried handguns. "Soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots," and some of the "activists" attempted to bring down a helicopter.

Well, that is of course a very biased source. Not credible.

But, it looks like there's footage. And it backs up the Israeli side of the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjkLUcbJWo
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby The Reaper » Mon May 31, 2010 4:49 pm UTC

Good riddance to bad rubbish. I hope the injured soldiers make a speedy recovery. Stupid violent activists.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Adamah » Mon May 31, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:
No matter who's side you're on, the rule "Don't attack highly trained soldiers who are armed to the teeth and backed up by superior firepower with rudimentary weapons" seems pretty logical to me.

Actually, it turns out most of them weren't even carrying "superior firepower". According to an eyewitness account, most of the Israeli soldiers had paintball guns; only the commandos carried handguns. "Soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots," and some of the "activists" attempted to bring down a helicopter.

Well, that is of course a very biased source. Not credible.

But, it looks like there's footage. And it backs up the Israeli side of the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjkLUcbJWo


Wow, that video is pretty tough to argue with. You can even see the soldiers holding paintball guns. I hope this evidence will dampen the world response. Sadly, I don't think the anti-Israel crowd will care about facts. They'll see the headlines "Israeli commandos kill Gaza peace activists" and draw their own conclusions.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby nowfocus » Mon May 31, 2010 5:06 pm UTC

Iv wrote:
nowfocus wrote:10 soldiers were injured - its hard to see how that happens without the crew getting the jump on them.

Source ? The news reports I have state that 2 soldiers wounded. The only number "10" I have in mind was the first report of activists death.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle ... 195838.stm. It reports 10 wounded. Seeing that video certainly backs that up
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Dream » Mon May 31, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

iop wrote:How do you think it was possible to get peace in Northern Ireland, then?

The most overwhelmingly important factor was the provision of equal civil rights and basic security to the minority population. That allowed the other developments to find fertile ground. It's also what Israel is witholding from Palestine.

As for the video, it's far too edited and selective to prove anything. Ten people are definitely dead, and if they were killed in the run up to the events in the video, then all the video shows is that the activists were brave enough to stand up to armed soldiers intent on killing. If the killings happened afterward, it exonerates the soldiers themselves as murderers, but there is still the matter that an armed boarding party invaded a peaceful (if politically activist) ship in international waters. Given that, it seems morally defensible to use some amount of force to repel them, as they have no right whatsoever to be there. And before anyone claims it, the (highly contested, and in my opinion ethically reprehensible) legality of the blockade does not render legal any and all actions in maintaining that blockade.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Adamah » Mon May 31, 2010 5:18 pm UTC

The killing was definitely after. At the start you see the first commando landing on the boat, and getting beat up immediately. There aren't any other commandos on the boat at the start. Then you see more land, and get beaten up. You can see the exact point where the soldiers pull out their weapons at the end of the video, and the beatings suddenly cease. It's definitely self-defense. But yes, I would like to see the whole video.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Dream » Mon May 31, 2010 5:27 pm UTC

The activists claim the soldiers landed shooting. Could they have fired shots in order to clear a landing area? Could they have fired from the helicopter? Could there be another helicopter in another part of the ship? Could this be their second attempt at landing? There is also at least one cut in the video, or two. There could so easily be so much more to this than what is shown in the video, which, lest we forget, was released be people with an immense interest in showing this to be the fault of the activists.

Anyway, as I said, if the video is accurate, it shows only self defense by these particular soldiers, not anything else. It means nothing in terms of the boarding as a whole, and since I didn't see ten bodies (and dozens wounded), it actually proves nothing about the deaths. They clearly happened elsewhere.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon May 31, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:Good riddance to bad rubbish. I hope the injured soldiers make a speedy recovery. Stupid violent activists.

This is like a G20 riot. There's a difference between free expression via nonviolent activism and base criminality for a cause. The other, nonviolent Free Gaza Boats were activism. This is base criminality.

Dream wrote:The activists claim the soldiers landed shooting

Well obviously, being activists, they're much more reliable than that detestably biased (read: Israeli) eyewitness account I posted before. They've got no biases whatsoever, because they're activists. And we can trust them on their being activists, because activists never lie. Logic.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Dream » Mon May 31, 2010 5:35 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:Well obviously, being activists, they're much more reliable than that detestably biased (read: Israeli) eyewitness account I posted before. They've got no biases whatsoever, because they're activists. And we can trust them on their being activists, because activists never lie. Logic.

Look. Make a better effort, or this thread will be dead before it reaches a page long. I used the word "could" about eight times in that post. That means the polar opposite of "we can trust them because they're activists". I said that the video doesn't actually disprove their account. That's all. But as you raise the point, the soldiers are defending themselves, in essence, against accusations of murder. That's a strong motivation to paint yourself as entirely innocent. The activists aren't being accused of murder by anyone. The only people who've used words like "lynch" and "kidnap" are the IDF. So I think one side has a far greater motivation to distort the truth here.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Mother Superior » Mon May 31, 2010 5:44 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:
The Reaper wrote:Good riddance to bad rubbish. I hope the injured soldiers make a speedy recovery. Stupid violent activists.

This is like a G20 riot. There's a difference between free expression via nonviolent activism and base criminality for a cause. The other, nonviolent Free Gaza Boats were activism. This is base criminality.

Dream wrote:The activists claim the soldiers landed shooting

Well obviously, being activists, they're much more reliable than that detestably biased (read: Israeli) eyewitness account I posted before. They've got no biases whatsoever, because they're activists. And we can trust them on their being activists, because activists never lie. Logic.


And soldiers are the most trustworthy eye witnesses ever... And the Israeli government has such a good reputation for being objective and unbiased. Always tell the truth, those guys. Also the ship was carrying several politicians, authors and statesmen, who I think make for some pretty reliable witnesses. Right now though they're being held by Israeli government for... trying to help people, so we don't know their side of the story yet. Buuut I'm sure any minute now the Israeli government are going to release these foreign nationals whom they attacked in international waters for trying to, again, help people. And when that happens we can clear this whole mess up.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Adamah » Mon May 31, 2010 5:59 pm UTC

Look, let's be honest. This wasn't about helping people. If they were just interested in helping people, they could have accepted Israel's offer to unload the supplies at an Israeli port, undergo an inspection for weapons, and have it transferred by land to Gaza. This was about getting headlines through a confrontation.

Dream wrote:The activists claim the soldiers landed shooting.


How do you shoot while sliding down a rope? The guy didn't even get his feet on the ground before getting jumped. And realistically, if the Israelis fired shots at the landing area from a helicopter, I doubt a crowd of people would gather around waiting for these soldiers with hot guns to come down. I think they'd be more likely to run for cover. Considering the Israelis didn't fire on any of the other boats, I find this unlikely anyway. Plus, it would be rather counterproductive and stupid for the Israelis. And if there's one thing the Israeli military is not, it's stupid.

At best, the protesters might have mistaken paintball shots for gunfire.

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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Mother Superior » Mon May 31, 2010 6:02 pm UTC

Adamah wrote:Look, let's be honest. This wasn't about helping people. If they were just interested in helping people, they could have accepted Israel's offer to unload the supplies at an Israeli port, undergo an inspection for weapons, and have it transferred by land to Gaza. This was about getting headlines through a confrontation.

Or, maybe, they for some completely incomprehensible reason didn't fully trust the Israeli government. Or, they were trying to make a point about the blockade being wrong. Or, they also wanted to help distribute these supplies themselves. Or, they were carrying people who were on diplomatic missions there.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon May 31, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

Also the ship was carrying several politicians, authors and statesmen, who I think make for some pretty reliable witnesses.

Note to self: being anti-Israel or pro-Arab appears to confer credibility in the public mind, even on figures such as politicians (and "statesmen", which means "old politicians") who would otherwise never, ever receive it.

Mother Superior wrote:Or, maybe, they for some completely incomprehensible reason didn't fully trust the Israeli government.

Why wouldn't they? This stunt has been pulled three times before (that I personally remember), and what always happened was that the boat got to Ashdod and all humanitarian aid was transferred to Gaza Strip.

Given a record of being able to make humanitarian deliveries via the Ashdod port, we can reason that these people armed themselves and made the IDF take them by force deliberately, in order to instigate a confrontation and thereby generate favorable media coverage for their cause.

Mission accomplished!
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby defaultusername » Mon May 31, 2010 6:20 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:Mission accomplished!

And 19 people were killed. I somehow doubt that was part of the original plan. But hey, they tried to fight back when Israeli troops boarded them on international waters, so it's their own bloody fault, right?
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Dream » Mon May 31, 2010 6:21 pm UTC

Adamah wrote:Look, let's be honest. This wasn't about helping people.

Even if they were principally interested in a confrontation that would still be all about helping people.
Adamah wrote:Plus, it would be rather counterproductive and stupid for the Israelis. And if there's one thing the Israeli military is not, it's stupid.

Think about this statement in light of Operation Cast Lead, and the recent Jerusalem building fiasco. Israel has no problem doing counterproductive things for its own reasons.
Adamah wrote:How do you shoot while sliding down a rope?

With two soldiers. One in the helicopter, one on the rope. Guess which one shoots. Miraculously, that wouldn't show up in the video at all.
aleflamedyud wrote:This stunt

It's not a stunt. Aid convoys are a common method of assisting humanitarian crises around the world. Gaza is just the same as many other places. (Chechnya, Darfur, East Timor and Romania all come to mind as destinations I've heard of.) Would it surprise you to learn that the people who organise them don't care that Israel tells them not to? That they don't trust the government that is keeping the population of Gaza in the conditions they're in to distribute aid?
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby nowfocus » Mon May 31, 2010 6:35 pm UTC

Dream wrote:With two soldiers. One in the helicopter, one on the rope. Guess which one shoots. Miraculously, that wouldn't show up in the video at all.

Did you see any indication there that the people on the boat were being shot at? Typically, when people are shot at, they run for cover. I'm not sure they have the composure to stand in one spot beating someone with a metal bar while under far. Also - the soldier in the helecopter would have to have terrible aim to miss that badly.

I further doubt that other soldiers were aboard at the time. Gently sliding into angry mobs when you've already established a position aboard the ship isn't exactly a special forces move.

Honestly what seems more likely?
1. People charge at and attack soldiers, soldiers fire
2. Soldiers fire, people charge and attack the firing soldiers

Unless its superman, I'd say 1 is more likely as aid workers aren't brave/stupid enough to run into gun fire. Thoughts?

Dream wrote:Anyway, as I said, if the video is accurate, it shows only self defense by these particular soldiers, not anything else. It means nothing in terms of the boarding as a whole, and since I didn't see ten bodies (and dozens wounded), it actually proves nothing about the deaths. They clearly happened elsewhere.


The video seem to support the Israeli account, and contradicts the activists account. While it doesn't show other events, the Israeli account ought to have far more credibility - at least until other evidence is presented.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby fjafjan » Mon May 31, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

So this is absolutely appalling on every level.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Kulantan » Mon May 31, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

Adamah wrote:Look, let's be honest. This wasn't about helping people. If they were just interested in helping people, they could have accepted Israel's offer to unload the supplies at an Israeli port, undergo an inspection for weapons (and building materials), and have it transferred by land to Gaza. This was about getting headlines through a confrontation.

Fixed that for you. The blockade of Gaza specifically blocks building materials getting into Gaza1. The flotilla was carrying building supplies2 (and wheelchairs which also have a history of being stopped). By combining these facts we can suppose that not all of the aid would have gotten through. The activists might have not wanted this to happen and thus had very good reason to not want to be routed through Ashdod.

I also wonder why Shayetet 13 were the unit chosen for this operation, as they are military team that seem to have little experience with non-lethal confrontation (one of there specialties is apparently assassination). As well as this I also wonder why they weren't armed with better non-lethal weapons ("a paintball won't stop them, we have to shoot them dead" seems a bit weak when they could have been armed with tasers or beanbag rounds).

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007%E2%80%932010_blockade_of_the_Gaza_Strip#Israeli_confiscation_of_humanitarian_aid_and_basic_supplies
2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/10199480.stm
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon May 31, 2010 6:59 pm UTC

At least according to the Israelis, the soldiers had paintball guns because they weren't expecting violence, period. They would think that way for good reasons, too, the previous Free Gaza Boats were, in fact, non-violent.

This is why I'm skeptical of the rioters' account. Other Free Gaza Boats were taken and towed to Ashdod without casualties or violence. Their aid was distributed into Gaza via a crossing. From what I've heard, that's exactly what will happen to this flotilla now that the Israelis have captured it. There is literally no logical reason that the Israelis would engage in a shoot-to-kill policy, unless you presuppose that the Israeli army just likes killing people. It appears that the "activists" were making precisely that presupposition and decided to make a brave last stand while also netting themselves favorable media coverage. It worked, in the most self-fulfilling and cynical way.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby Kulantan » Mon May 31, 2010 7:08 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:At least according to the Israelis, the soldiers had paintball guns because they weren't expecting violence, period.

I'm not sure that is a good enough reason. While I fully understand that the level of violence aboard the MV Mavi Marmara was unprecedented (no matter how you look at it), it's still a failing to arm them for an amusement or a live fire terrorist take down situation but nothing in between. Given that there were 700 (angry, scared and untrained) people aboard the flotilla they should have been prepared, at the least, with tasers just like normal law enforcement agents who also have no assumption of trouble occurring.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby zombie_monkey » Mon May 31, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

wikipedia wrote:In 2006, the Danish Institute for International Studies published a report titled "The Role of Islamic Charities in International Terrorist Recruitment and Financing", by American analyst Evan Kohlman. Kohlman claimed that major international Islamic charities such as IHH, while providing genuine humanitarian relief, also occasionally serve as fronts and liaison with Islamic militants and terror groups. In particular, Kohlman blamed IHH for assisting the Iraqi Sunni insurgency, and mentioned a 1997 raid in which police found weapons, explosives and bomb-making instructions in the IHH headquarter in Istanbul.[2]

IHH (İnsani Yardım Vakfı) -- the organization that owns the ship.
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Re: Israelian raid on Gaza-bound aid ship kills 10+ people

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon May 31, 2010 7:24 pm UTC

Kulantan wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:At least according to the Israelis, the soldiers had paintball guns because they weren't expecting violence, period.

I'm not sure that is a good enough reason. While I fully understand that the level of violence aboard the MV Mavi Marmara was unprecedented (no matter how you look at it), it's still a failing to arm them for an amusement or a live fire terrorist take down situation but nothing in between. Given that there were 700 (angry, scared and untrained) people aboard the flotilla they should have been prepared, at the least, with tasers just like normal law enforcement agents who also have no assumption of trouble occurring.

I think from the Israeli perspective, rubber bullets or tasers would have been considered too violent, not from a moral perspective but from a PR perspective. If someone had been tased it would have turned into "Don't tase me bro" raised to the 1000th power.
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