Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Gaza Flotilla: the making of a Greek Tragedy

While I will be elaborating more on the Israeli attack on the Gaza Flotilla, today I will offer some limited thoughts. First and foremost, and most sadly, the outcome of foreign ships trying to break the Israeli blockade itself would not have reaped such a tragedy. However, once coupled with the Turkish contingent it was clear that both sides were in for a showdown. For me, the weekend was spent thinking about how and when this clash would happen. Like a Greek tragedy, it was clear that there would be no good ending to this story. The activists would fight a victorious battle and not give into Israel occupying their ship. Would they radically fail? No, their lost battle would turn them into heroes. They could not have wished for a better outcome.

The clear loser in all of this is Israel itself and its international legitimacy. What was the Israeli government thinking? Why did they not simply line battleships and literally block the entrance of the ship. Yes, a diplomatic brouhaha would have ensued with serious international negotiations setting in. However, having your soldiers board a civilian ship in International Waters? What a pathetic use of soldiers, placing them in place of negotiations. Thus it needs to be clearly stated: Israel in the end, no matter how they play the cards, is the guilty party. Guilty of killing civilians not in their territory; guilty of sending an ill prepared capture of the ship; guilty of causing irreparable damage to Israel’s image. As eloquently stated by Yossi Sarid, this was the work of “Seven Idiots in the Cabinent.” http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/seven-idiots-in-the-cabinet-1.293418

Also the Turkish government needs to take a share of the blame. Why did they not intervene? While Prime Minister Erdogan and his Foreign Minister were traveling throughout South America, did not think to derail this tragedy. They certainly knew that these ships were full of woman and children and that some sort of clashes would ensue. Once again, Erdogan has failed; how will he defuse the massive wave of anti-Israel protestors? Will he be able to extinguish the fire that has been ignited? Will he be able to progress a peace initiative? Certainly, the worsening of relations with Israel will only make a peace agreement even farther away.

In this article, I have yet to mention criticism of the Free Gaza Campaign. Since I have been writing this blog, I have stated that I am against the blockade of Gaza. The Turkish contingent represented by the radical IHH (Insani Yardim Vakifi) foundation has shown their true colors in the past. The fact that the Free Gaza Campaign joined forces with them also shows what a desperate state of affairs they are in. Indeed, it was a reckless decision by the Campaign.

What is makes this case a Greek Tragedy however is the fact that Israel so willingly entered the trap and proved to the world that like in Gaza, they will use military force when they really should be negotiating.

Stay tuned for more......


  1. louis, i'd like to know more about the IHH--please share.

  2. I like this but Israel will never be taken seriously. They are surrounded by those that only want to hard Israel. They are also told to give away land that is theirs. No matter what happens it will not have a good outcome.

  3. I have to disagree with you, Louis. Saying that you do not agree with the Gaza blockade and then suggesting a "better" way of preventing humanatarian aid to the city is contradictory and hypocritical. You cannot possibly think that the ships would not end up in confrontation eventually. Also, these organizations know of the risk it takes to reach such a war torn region, so asserting that the Turkish government should be held accountable for the incident is quite misleading. In addition, your subtle use of words in your descriptions makes one think that you are not as liberal as you may think you are. For example, how can you call the IHH radical when the very description has been disputed. They are a humanatarian organization. It seems you want to discount their very efforts. While I do not agree with the actions of Hamas, I do understand their reactions to the oppressive tactics used by a more powerful country.Even if such ties are found to be true (cannot be proven yet), this cannot possibly be the basis by which you call an entirely different organization (IHH) "radical."

  4. The blockade is horrible, but is allowing the free flow of weapons, to be used against Israelis, a better idea?!
    Until Israel can know for sure that Hamas will not be physically strengthened by allowing them free access to incoming weapons, Israel has no choice but to blockade.
    Sometimes countries have to make unpopular decisions to protect their own people.


  5. Try grabbing a gun from an NYPD officer or throwing him around and see if you'l get killed.
    It is extremely stupid to put up violent resistance to commandos with guns, if you do, you are taking your life in your own hands.

    Since humanitarian aid reaches Gaza by the thousands of tonnes every day, the Mavi Marmara was obviously a (anti Israel) publicity stunt.
    To put peoples lives in danger for the sake of a publicity stunt is shameful and criminal!

  6. Greetings to all, I will address your comments one by one:

    1. TO Michelle-I will write more on IHH in the near future..

    2. TO UNited Against: You make some pretty bold claims here; I would research the tooci more to understand the issue of land.

    3. John, in my upcoming post on IHH I will certainly take your comments in consideration some serious points to ponder on.

    4. Ari, regardless of your stance on the Mavi Marmara, clearly Israel is the guilty party. There were many other ways to reroute the ship with causing a violent outcome. Yes, all you say might be arguable but in light of the outcome seems less credible.



  7. Indeed a Greek Tragedy. While I am against the military blockade of Gaza, it is an ineffective strategy for keeping Israel safe, the attack and the humanitarian Flotilla seem staged.

    I take issue with your words "the Israeli attack".
    I understand that the military is of Israel. However, the constant usage of "Israeli attack" within the International and national media is leading audiences to interpret the attack not as a military one, but as a collaborative measure. This is frightening.

    Is there not a difference between civilian and military actions and reputations? Americans, remember Jackson State and Abu Ghraib?

    I am acquainted and aware of many peace-loving and socially just Israelis.
    This condemnation of Israelis is irresponsible journalism, and should be addressed.

  8. My stance on the Mavi Marmara? What stance?

    There is no question the whole flotilla was a setup and Israel is guilty of falling for it & taking the bait.
    If it is civilian aid that is important, they could have cooperated & let Israel inspect their cargo through Ashdod.
    I cant bring anything on a plane without it being inspected! So too, Israel can not allow a free for all entry in to Gaza. That would only lead to a dangerous situation of an even more heavily armed Hamas in Gaza, which would inevitably lead right in to another disastrous war in which hundreds or thousands, NOT NINE, Palestinians would be killed.

    Nine dead is nine individual tragedy's, but the world can not be run by emotions, the cold facts* are on Israel's side even if the whole world chooses to react blindly.

    *facts about: blockades in Intl law; weapon smuggling prevention; & the stupidity/obvious consequences of attacking commandos.

  9. Ari,
    Really? The world is "not run by emotions"? What? I take your response to this post as a none emotional one then.
    First of all, "Israel cannot allow a free for all entry in to Gaza", "allow"?
    Your fear over a "heavily armed" Hamas in Gaza seems to be exaggerated.
    The incident is a prime example of what happens when "more heavily armed" members of any military are left to their own devices or have severely defected leadership.
    Good luck trusting your "cold facts".

  10. I said "can not be run by emotions" (though perhaps it often is), which is what has dragged most of the world in to an anti Israel frenzy.

    Hamas is bent on destroying Israel. On that i doubt we have an argument.
    Since "destroy" is a big goal, they try to kill as many Israelis as they can. Any sane person or nation tries to defend itself. By defense i mean the measures Israel has taken with regards to Hamas & Gaza. No doubt many innocent civilians suffer as well, but they chose Hamas so they get the whole package. Next time, elect a government that will build instead of destroy.
    Israel tries to minimize civilian suffering to the extent it does not interfere with the defense of its own people.
    To argue whether certain specific measures Israel uses are necessary is only legitimate if you have a viable alternative that the Israelis can LIVE with.
    Hamas is constantly building up its weapons arsenal through tunnel smuggling & if they were allowed to bring in ships their stockpile would balloon! If that is what you want, say so!
    If you have evidence that Israel has nothing to fear by allowing Hamas free access to incoming ships, then enlighten me. I'm all ears.

  11. just a reminder: this all happened in INTERNATIONAL WATERS. right for defense comes in your own territory, NOT in international waters.

    i don't agree with IHH and the double standards people use to say gaza is only blocked by israel. see egypt. but what israeli government did with international waters intervention is ILLEGAL. they could do the same when the ship entered their own waters, but didn't. the question then, is not the right for defense. the question is HOW you do it. and that's why, this is a major screw up.

  12. There are many things that just made me laugh, like the comparation with the NYPD officer (he would never jump in your boat first).
    I would like you to check this, and then tell me if this is an instinctive reaction or a planed execution: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4049167&id=582489254&fbid=401175919254#!/photo.php?pid=4049167&id=582489254&fbid=401175919254

  13. Israel was created based on terrorist groups, like Irgun and Lehi. I see that you had very short memory, because you also forgot what to be in a ghetto is, you forgot the name for the mass extermination of innocent civilians.

  14. 1)Due to Hamas' desire to wage war with Israel, Israel has no choice but to blockade Gaza. There are definitely legal grounds to prevent a ship, that is clearly going to try to breach a blockade, and stop it before it enters the blockading country's waters.

    But is that really the issue? Do you really want to nitpick about where exactly Israel chose to stop the boat?! As if you would be satisfied if the raid happened inside Gaza's waters!?
    2)Considering your lack of intelligent comments & complete disability to address any of the points I raised, no doubt many things made you laugh, but regarding the NYPD, they would take defensive, & offensive measures in WHATEVER circumstances they happen to be in (Does not have to be jumping on to a ship!) similar to the IDF taking the measures it sees fit for its best interests.
    Clearly, my point about the NYPD was not the legality of the raid but the utter stupidity and recklessness in trying to take the soldiers on & then crying about the inevitable consequences!
    3)Regarding the Facebook photo, I don't know what your trying to show me. I am aware people were hurt!!! But if your opinions are shaped on your emotions after seeing an injured person, no wonder no one takes your opinion seriously when formulating state defense policy for 7 million people.
    4)I do not have a short memory. So what if Israel was created by terrorist organizations? The British didn't tolerate them & Israel has no reason to tolerate todays' terrorists. You either win a war or you lose it, but you can't have it both ways.
    There are no ghettos and no mass exterminations! There IS a war with Islamic extremism and many innocents suffer as well. But the blame falls on the Palestinian leadership-Hamas.

  15. Ari,

    I understood that you get emotional when talking about the issues we are discussing here, but you don´t know me so when you insulted my intelligence, you are just showing what kind of intelligence you have.
    So, lets analyze the facts:

    1) Hamas and other political actors that fight against Israel are defensive subproducts of the forced creation of Israel. Let me explain you in a way you will understand: Let´s say that jews would be organized during IIWW for fighting against the nazis. Let´s give them a name, some weapons and military intelligence. Nazis would call them terrorists, in the same way that Israel call Hamas terrorists. But do you understand that they have the natural right to defend themselves? It does not justify the killing of innocent civilians. But also nothing justify the massive killings and punishment of innocent palestinian civilians.

    2) If you are boarded by any force illegally, it doesn´t matter if it is done by a NY police officer, a IDF comando or a somalian pirate. It is an illegal act, against international laws. And laws are done for obeying them. Also the UN resolutions are done for respect them, read this for your information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_resolutions_concerning_Israel
    It is very interesting the one from 1975. Please read all of them before posting any other comment.

    3) In the Facebook photos you can see people with a shoot in the forehead between the eyes. Do you think that this is a shoot made in the caos of the fighting, or a cold blood execution? I think is the second option. Another question: have you seen the list of targets that the israeli soldiers had? they where looking for people they consider dangerous to execute them. Selective assassination it is called.

    4) There is a ghetto, it is calle Gaza, and todays is the only one in the world created by a first world country. And there exists mass killings, in the last Israel operation there where 1.300 victims, 200 of them from Hammas, the rest where innocent civilians. See this to compare the number of deaths since 2008: http://www.moiz.ca/coffin2.htm

    You are right when you sugest that the more powerful writes the history. But dont forget what happened between David and Goliath. Slingshoots are very powerful.

  16. I'm not sure where you saw me getting emotional.
    My insulting comments were due to your not addressing the crux of any of the points I raised, as well as your atrocious grammar and complete anonymity.

    The state of Israel is not a forced creation. The statehood process began in the late 1800s and has roots going back to before the creation of Islam or Christianity. Modern political Zionism was a response to European antisemitism and not a conspiracy to rob Arabs of their land. Anything denying that is utter crap and is out of the realm of facts!

    Nevertheless, nobody is saying that the creation of the state did not lead to Arab suffering (as it did to Jewish suffering as well), but that is a constant consequence of ALL world events. Wars are fought, people lose their lives, and their land, and the victors have it their way. It is like that in every country and has always been. Only the Arabs can reject a reasonable (even if arguably) land split, lose a war and then expect to somehow decide the terms.

    There is no need for you to give me a badly written analogy about Nazis & WWII, what you meant to say was: One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.
    I do recognize that.

    However, that is of no concern to the Israelis. As far as they are concerned, considering the wanton violence perpetrated by Hamas (Islamic Jihad...) against civilians, they are what the dictionary calls Terrorists.

    Palestinian resistance started off as an OFFENSIVE organization not a defensive one. (If you insist on objecting to even the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 BEFORE there was any "occupation" of the West Bank & Gaza, then we have nothing to discuss as I would have to conclude that you are just another ignorant Anti Semite lacking knowledge of basic history as well as a "useful idiot" to the Islamofascists who you seem to root for due to the "Peace, Tolerance & Love" they preach.)
    In 1947, when the UN voted on partition & the Arabs rejected it, what part of sore loser don't you understand? Instead of accepting the reality of the situation, which resulted in Muslims & Christians living under Jewish rule with better conditions then were afforded to Jews when the situation was reversed, they formed the PLO with the objective to destroy Israel. Israel was the one on the defensive! Subsequently, the Israeli military became ever more powerful to a point that any action they take is seen as aggression: David vs Goliath. This is a complete distortion of reality. Sure Israel is more powerful presently & more Arabs die, but life is not a numbers game. The situation remains the same as far as Israel just wants to live in peace and the Arabs want to destroy it.

    As soon as Hamas puts their energy in to BUILDING Gaza, instead of building weapons smuggling tunnels & shooting rockets, the plight of the Palestinians would improve. (look at Jenin, for example, where as anti Israel activity has decreased, life has improved.)
    Innocent Palestinian suffering is unfortunate, but the Israeli governments obligation is to protect its own civilians. Palestinians who wish to live in peace & improve their lives should have stated so when they went to the polls to vote for Hamas. They chose no to!

  17. Cont.
    Funny you mention UN resolutions concerning Israel, there are many. Too many in fact when comparing them to other more bloodier conflicts such as Sudan, the Kurds, Cambodia etc, which can barely muster a handful. Therefore I have no interest in what the UN has to say, freedom loving people have rejected that farce of a "peace" organization years ago. Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Somalia & Rwanda have nothing to preach to Israel, or the USA, on matters of freedom & human rights.

    You & I don't know what really happened on the boat, what we do know is that commandos were attacked. Bad move! The attackers were not peace activists. The probable consequence for attacking commandos is death. They have only themselves to blame. With their martyrs attitude, they probably expected it.

    Firsyt learn about Ghettos before you call Gaza a Ghetto. Polish Jews were not put in to Ghettos because they were shooting rockets on German civilians. Nor did they declare war on Germany. But they sure would have been glad if they were given tonnes of aid on a daily basis & were warned before they were bombed.

    Yes the victors write history, but thats not the point here. I said that some win wars, others lose them, but only the Arabs have the gall to start a war, lose it & then expect to decide the terms.

  18. Ari,

    It is pointless to have any exchange of ideas with you. Your fanaticism exceeds your intellectual abilities and
    there is nothing worse than talking to a deaf. If your
    intellectual blindness were less serious you would able to see, as the whole world does, the crimes committed by Israel.
    It seems that brainwashing works pretty good in your lands, I hope that you don´t go paranoid and shoot the water tank of the arabs living in the Ghetto of Gaza.
    I see that you don´t want to comment about the executions of innocent civilians, the ones on the boat, the ones on Palestina and other executions that Mossad does using terrorist strategies.
    And sorry for my English, I started learning in my school secondary in Poland. I am jew, so maybe I am a little bit slow for learning.
    I will not answer anything else coming from you, as I don´t like to talk with fanatics or extremists.

  19. well Louis,
    what makes you think that you could possibly bring "the israeli side" to the Turks or to Turkey, when you treat Israel as an occupying power in the Middle East, or when you take part in that radical leftists' protesto held in Tel Aviv few weeks ago? do you really think you can teach the Turks how the "israeli man on the street" thinks, when you are not even likely to present this opinion??
    if you live and work in the US, what makes you think you can criticize Israel so severely on one hand but when it is of your "academic" "professional" need you speak on behalf of the Israelis on the other hand?(the question regardign the right of non israelis Jews to determine the destiny of israel is an utter different question as it is...)
    sorry budy, you represent a tiny minority in Israel, thus, no one like you can tell the Turks what Israelis really think of them, or at least at the Turkish PM. for that, "real israelis" are required and preferbly brave ones.
    thanks for reading.

  20. Luis,
    I have leaved in Turkey a bit longer than you, and I suppose I am living in Israel a bit longer than you. I have left Turkey long ago, I have to say that there are extraordinary people in Turkey.On the other hand leaving as a minority is really hard.As you know 2 years ago an Armenian Journalist was murdered and this is not just one case, before Al Kaida attacked the synagogues in Istanbul,a dentist from the Administration of the jewish community has been murdered, and other several members has been seriously threatened.

    Probably your Universe in Istanbul is a very elite universe.Probably you are not facing , the "Peace Activists" in your daily life.In my opinion Istanbul is more interesting and beautiful than Tel Aviv and New York(Belive me I know all of them well).

    I grew up in Istanbul, the city became a part of me, unlike you I had the chance to know all the parallel universes in Istanbul.

    The universe( or should I say bubble) that you are living in Istanbul is just a tiny minority of it.I guess the person who killed Hirant Dink was not an evil person, he was just uneducated and fulled with hatered towards him.

    This can happen also in Israel( for instance Barcuh Goldstein) or any place in the world.But the proportions and the motivations are also very important.

    1.The motivation is internal,the Turkish people are not happy in the way they are living, The current prime minster was a promise when he was elected.But in the last 8 years he became a corrupted politician, like all the former ones.He became like the others in the eyes of Turkish people.Like all the others he had to find a common enemy to have a better chance of being elected again, this time the enemy was not Greeks or Armenians this time the enemy was Israel which is more suitable to PM's ideology.

    2.The proportion, I just told you the universe the you are living in is a tiny minority, in the parallel universes of Istanbul.Most of the societies in Turkey are easily distracted to a common enemy for many years.In the history of Turkish Republic there are dozens of examples people became violent to minorities, some are realtively close to our era.

    3.Without a doubt this is on of the biggest, propagandas the Politicians shows a common enemy to the people in Turkey.My guess is there will be casualties,this pressure the the politicians put on Turkish people is not controllable.Like it did in the past,like some one came and killed Hirant Dink.Minorities(including you) can be attacked.

  21. The anyonymous friend called Ari fanatic, I consider my self as a peace seeker , I want to speak about the "crimes" that Israel commits.Mathematics and Law are both very respected scienses, in both of them you have to define the problems,laws, and you have to be very analytic when taking desicions in both scienses,but as you now law is not an exact sciense, law is a human since since it has terms like justice and proportionality, these terms are as important as the analyitical part of the law.

    Countries breaks the international law as the citizens breask the traffic laws.Even the normative citizens, don't have any intent to break any law may break the laws.

    U.S,G.B -> Afganistan ,
    Russia -> Cheshnia, Georgia
    China -> Tibet,Sichuan(Uygir Turks)
    Turkey-> Northern(Irak),
    has Internatinal law problems, the "crimes" that they commit are more continues and the volume of the crimes are higher.

    Just be fare and explain me how come Israel becomes the only criminal in the world.

    When you are talking about Israel's crimes I wonder if you approach to the rest of the world as you approach to Israel.You are talking about mass murders.
    Syria,Sudan,Turkey,Iran killed their citizens in much larger volumes.

    All of the countries commits Human Rights crimes and only Israel should be punished.Is this your perspective of law.

    More than 90% of the Human Rights allegations are against Israel in UN, when all of the other countries from west from east, from democratic and non-democratic countries commits more crimes then Israel.

    If everybody commits some crime and just one person accused systematically , by the human rights concil, this is called something else.

    2010 Group

    African States:
    South Africa,
    Angola ?,
    Egypt ?.
    Asian States:
    Indonesia ?,
    Philippines ?,
    Qatar ?.

    Eastern European States:
    Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Latin American & Caribbean States:
    Nicaragua ?,

    Western European & Other States:

    Gr8 some members of the Human Rights Council not respecting human rights and democracy.Corrupted political systems is this a human rights council ?

    This is a circus and when I say the truth I am becoming a "fanatic" in your eyes.

    You are idefixed that Israel is criminal.Please tell me this ,how con you define a warrior that uses his own people's children as human shields against his enemey.How can you explain this .

    All the best.