Flotilla attacks: the condescended version


by Rumbold
31st May, 2010 at 8:56 pm    

Were the protesters trying to provoke a response from Israel? Yes.

Did the protesters want to get shot by Israeli commandos? No.

Were there unsavoury, anti-Semitic elements amongst the protesters? Yes.

Did this mean they deserved to die? No.

Were the protesters foolish to try and fight the commandos? Yes.

Did this mean they deserved to die? No.

Do ordinary Israelis or Gazans benefit from any of this? No.

(Inspired by Shamit’s comments on the previous thread)


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  1. Elly

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  2. James Hargrave

    This sums up the Gaza situation for me http://bit.ly/9g51ZU


  3. Vivian

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  4. Kim Lofthouse

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  5. hannahnicklin

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  6. sunny hundal

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  7. Paul Nolan

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  8. Mark W Webster

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  9. Naadir Jeewa

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  10. paul bassett davies

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Flotilla attacks: the condescended version http://bit.ly/c8WJ6W


  11. Naadir Jeewa

    Reading: Flotilla attacks: the condescended version: Were the protesters trying to provoke a response from Israel?… http://bit.ly/9Eutjw


  12. johnhalton

    RT @hannahnicklin RT @sunny_hundal: Flotilla attacks: the condescended version http://bit.ly/c8WJ6W /// Yup. Pretty much sums it all up.


  13. Justin Baidoo

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Flotilla attacks: the condescended version http://bit.ly/c8WJ6W


  14. Richi Jennings

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Flotilla attacks: the condescended version http://bit.ly/c8WJ6W


  15. Hamish75

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  16. links for 2010-06-02 « Embololalia

    [...] Pickled Politics » Flotilla attacks: the condescended version (tags: israel palestine) [...]


  17. Israel and the Flotilla – next chapter, same story « The social world of the Rididill

    [...] community at least. The innocence or peaceful intentions of the protesters remains disputed; but it’s hard to argue that pumping them full of bullets was the right way to go, even if those tapes weren’t [...]


  18. Gaza flotilla – some alternative views « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism

    [...] Rumbold Posted in conflict, media. 59 Comments » [...]




  1. Lord Balto — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:08 pm  

    You don’t know they resisted. All you know is what the IDF propagandists tell you. Try to distinguish between reality and spin.

  2. Rumbold — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:13 pm  

    The videos show them fighting (even the ones on Al Jazeera). As I said, it doesn’t justify their deaths.

  3. Shamit — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:22 pm  

    Rumbold –

    You missed few critical points -

    Was Israel ie the Cabinet stupid to send armed commandos on the ships? A resounding yes.

    Could Israel have blocked the flotilla without boarding the ships? YES

    Could aid be delivered without this grandstanding? Resounding Yes.

    Is an attempt to snatch weapons from highly trained commandos stupid and dangerous? YES

    Are there any precedence in blockade in International waters? Yes – Cuban missile crisis.

    Do states have the legal right to search ships in international waters if they reasonably believe they are carrying weapons? Yes.

    ************************************
    Earwicga:

    “I shall not be approving any more comments that blame the activists for being attacked and killed by Israeli commandoes in international waters”

    And my comments responding to her comments where she attacks me has been blocked.

    This behaviour is disgraceful and I did not know voicing reasonable opinions are against the values and editorial policies of pickled politics.

    ************************************

  4. David — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:25 pm  

    Lord, its not propaganda, it’s videos – you cant deny the reality as it is.

    Rumbold – it’s self defence, soldiers could have been easily killed too – with live fire, knives, metal sticks etc…

    The IDF turned to the ships long time before in peace ways, they just wouldnt listen, and continued with their crime.

  5. Rumbold — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:38 pm  

    Shamit:

    You comments haven’t been deleted (on either thread). It was just the filter playing up.

  6. Omri — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:41 pm  

    If you attack uniformed personnel with a knife or a cudgel, you do, in fact, want to get shot. That is what these “peaceniks” did.

  7. Linklater — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:45 pm  

    @ Rumbold,

    I agree with all your Q & A’s, though you have left out one which I think bears consideration, namely:

    “How long were the commandoes supposed to refrain from using their handguns to defend themselves and their fellows while being beaten and in some cases stabbed?”

    I am not pretending to know the circumstances of all the shootings, we don’t have the evidence for that. It’s possible some or even many of the shootings were NOT in self-defence, but it does appear from the videos that initially the Israelis were refraining from shooting, even while they were under sustained attack with steel bars and other objects from a large number of people. At some point in those situations, soldiers will shoot in self-defence or to defend fellow soldiers. That’s not saying anyone ‘deserves’ to die, but equally no fighting back at all by the outnumbered Israelis would in due course have very likely have resulted in fatalities on their side. Once the paintball guns hadn’t worked, they didn’t have steel bars, or numbers, and so they drew their handguns.

    @ Shamit

    “Earwicga:

    “I shall not be approving any more comments that blame the activists for being attacked and killed by Israeli commandoes in international waters”

    And my comments responding to her comments where she attacks me has been blocked.

    This behaviour is disgraceful and I did not know voicing reasonable opinions are against the values and editorial policies of pickled politics.”

    This has happened to me also on the same thread for the same reason. I didn’t call Earqwicga names, use foul language, libel, threats, anything like that, I simply disagreed with what I consider to be her deliberately one-eyed view of the matter, and gave my reasons.

    I hope some of the more reasonable people involved on here can raise this matter of censoring simple dissent. It seems very illiberal in spirit, and it doesn’t look great for PP as a whole, which is otherwise an interesting site. Thanks.

  8. Shamit — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:47 pm  

    Apologies to Earwicga then. But one post is missing where i responded to earwicga and kulvinder.

    Rumbold – btw, I dropped you an email about the PP meet. Did you get that?

  9. damon — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:51 pm  

    Is Israel happy at this outcome? I don’t think so.
    They screwed up.

    Am I the only person to find the ”outrage” from the kind of people who will have been demonstrating tonight in London a bit tiresome?
    I’m sure thay are very happy.

    This aid convoy was a George Galloway like stunt.

    I’m not sure what the logistics of trying to block the ships from entering Gaza would have been. Just sticking some warships across the mouth of the harbour?

    I’d say these guys would have charged it anyway and tried to ram any blocking ships.

    Bad business all round.

  10. Omri — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:53 pm  

    Better this result than allow Hamas an unfettered channel for obtaining materiel for their desired activities.

  11. cjcjc — on 31st May, 2010 at 9:56 pm  

    I like your condescended version.

    Am I the only person to find the ”outrage” from the kind of people who will have been demonstrating tonight in London a bit tiresome?

    No indeed you’re not.

  12. Matthew Doye — on 31st May, 2010 at 10:46 pm  

    Condensed or condescended? Either way the result is oversimplified.

    A numbered list invites fisking which I’ll try to avoid.

    Facts are facts: the occupation is illegal and thus trying to enforce the blockade is illegal. Of course Israel contends, despite the opinion of just about every authority, that there is no occupation, however without there being such a state there exists no legal basis for a blockade.

    I can see why Israel chose to do what it did; it was trying to make the best of a bad situation, to find a way out of a lose-lose for them. Its options were:

    A) here is where the contention that the flotilla was trying to provoke a reaction fails its first test, ignore the flotilla, just let the ships through; of course this would be intolerable domestically it would make a mockery of the blockade and would be a physical and PR victory for the Free Gaza movement.

    B) to attempt to force the vessels to stay in international waters, technically difficult but perhaps the missed opportunity.

    C) a daylight boarding of the vessels, this is the one to choose if you really believe they are armed, your own cameras can record everything. If, however, they are not armed it’s a disaster.

    D) the night attack, maximum confusion maximum chance of quick military success, minimum opportunity for capturing images of wrongdoing by the assault team. The chosen option.

    Given that the night attack option was selected, so, presumably, the Israelis believed they would not face armed opposition, what idiot gave the order to use live rounds? The number of less-lethal (not non-lethal, there’s no such thing) projectile options that are available the only reason to use conventional live ammunition is if one intends to kill.

    This was not a police action, it was a punishment action by a state that believes that, no matter what the law, it can act with impunity. It was an act of piracy by a rogue state.

  13. Omri — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:10 pm  

    A. Ignoring the flotilla would result in Hamas having an uncontrolled channel with which to obtain weapons.

    I.e. dead Israel schoolchildren within days of the 2nd flotilla.

    No go.

    B. It is impossible to force a shi[ to do anything without risking a sinking of it. Which, come to think of it, would hardly be something to lament.

    C: Daytime or night time, you can record whatever you like, and the Israelis did. Thereby proving that the passengers were hardly peace activists, but in fact Hamas-supporter thugs.

  14. Nick Malone — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:14 pm  

    “Given that the night attack option was selected, so, presumably, the Israelis believed they would not face armed opposition, what idiot gave the order to use live rounds? The number of less-lethal (not non-lethal, there’s no such thing) projectile options that are available the only reason to use conventional live ammunition is if one intends to kill.”

    Nutty logic. They are hardly going to send in soldiers with no lethal weapons at all for self-defence. The fact that they had their sidearms holstered and only used them, putting aside their ineffectual paintball guns, 30 minutes into the raid, indicates they did not set out to launch a lethal raid, and that some ‘idiot’ gave them the OK to use lethal weapons to defend themselves as a last resort, a choice they resisted until two of their own had been shot and one stabbed. How long should they have held off? What else should they have used against a vastly larger group armed with metal poles and knives? Kung Fu?

    However incompetent the Israeli raid, they clearly didn’t go on board with the express intention of killing protestors. Indeed the video evidence shows it was the protestors trying to kill Israeli soldiers at the start, not the other way round. The Israelis weren’t even firing their paintball guns but using them to bluff the protestors into backing off. In your eagerness to characterise the boarding as a ‘punishment action’ do you expect people to just ignore that inconvenient footage?

  15. earwicga — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:25 pm  

    Nick Malone – do you know what was in the paintball guns?

  16. RedSeaPedestrian — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:30 pm  

    “Nick Malone – do you know what was in the paintball guns?”

    Yes. Fucking paintballs!

  17. earwicga — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:32 pm  

    Really? Not tear gas then?

  18. Nick Malone — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:32 pm  

    Earwicga, since they are used for riot control, some kind of gas cannister or rubber or plastic bullets is my guess.

  19. damon — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:36 pm  

    Matthew Doye – just a point about it being nighttime.

    The ships were a couple of hours from being in Israeli waters. Should the Israeli’s have waited to the point where their options were narrowed down?
    What time was it anyway?

    Waiting till daylight would mean the ships were practically in Gaza.

    Personally I think that making such a fuss that it took place in ‘international waters’ is a weak point.

    Would the USA let a North Korean ship with unknown intent within 20 miles of the US coast?

    Would this post have made it on to the other (censored) one?

  20. earwicga — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:41 pm  

    Why don’t you try your luck damon ;)

  21. Sunny — on 31st May, 2010 at 11:58 pm  

    Is Israel happy at this outcome? I don’t think so.

    Don’t think they care really.

    Also – good post Rumbold – but the people who are most responsible for the bloackade aren’t Palestinians, it’s Israel. They are to blame for keeping this humanitarian disaster going.

  22. mostly harmless — on 1st June, 2010 at 12:46 am  

    So, military vessels surround your ship for a day in international waters, they block communications, helicopters hover above your ship and drop commandos with what look like rifles, ready to shoot during the night.

    Would I have a go? Probably not.

  23. Vikrant — on 1st June, 2010 at 3:26 am  

    Nick Malone – do you know what was in the paintball guns?

    If you put anything close to live ammunition in those guns, their barrels will explode!

    While I’m not saying the protestors deserved it, but its pretty pig headed to try and lynch a dozen armed men. Soldiers will instinctively fire back if their lives are being threatened. Such good considerations like winning hearts and minds, sensitivity yadda yadda go right out of the window.

    It is even more amusing to see the flotilla folks, compare themselves to Gandhi. Gandhi’s men took the blows, let themselves be run over by British convoys, never fought back.

  24. Yakoub — on 1st June, 2010 at 6:20 am  

    Did this military assault take place in international waters in breach of international law? Yes.

    Will the British government condemn the attack? No.

    Is this craven attack viewed as an outrage by the majority of decent human beings around the world? Yes.

  25. Matthew Doye — on 1st June, 2010 at 6:58 am  

    Every country has trained personnel experienced in the application of non-lethal force, they’re called police officers. If you send in armed troops in a military attack you are expecting to kill.

    Defending oneself as a last resort does not include firing assault rifles, not paintball guns, as one is boarding. I followed as much of the live video as I could, I watched people waiving white flags only to later be told that theses flags were not flags at all but axes or poles along with a number of other unverifiable claims.

    Whilst I admit am never likely to be one to take Israel’s side in an incident I remain amazed at how many times, over the years, Israel manages to behave far worse than I could have imagined.

    I note that some are making the error that this was somehow a Hamas plot to import war materiel. There is simply no evidence for this. Certainly the boats leaving Turkey had their cargoes inspected by Turkish customs and similar inspections have been carried out elsewhere.

    On the comments on Gandhi and non-violence it is enough to note that he only advocated non-violence to those capable of it, for the rest he advocated violent resistance, anything else he called cowardice. Those who stand in the way of tanks and bulldozers have my greatest admiration, those who are willing to march yet know they are going to take beatings that may kill them are true heroes, I know I do not have the strength to not respond.

    If, as is claimed, some of the passengers did fight with the Israeli Forces since when did ‘repelling boarders’ become something wrong Had this happenned in the South China sea or off the coast of Somalia those same unarmed defenders would be called heroes, or possibly stupid heroes, and Task Forces would be despatched to protect them.

    The flotilla was not “a couple of hours from Israeli waters”, it never intended to enter Israeli waters. This is not a minor quibble, it is a fact and an important one. International legal opinion considers them to be the territorial waters of occupied territories whilst Israel alone claim,s they are a zone of hostilities, a status, I might add, which makes it illegal to supply weapons to either side.

    The attack took place at approx 4:30 AM local time just before fist light, often considered the optimum time for a purely military operation, some 68 miles from Gaza given the speed the flotilla could make the Israeli forces had plenty of time to mount a daylight operation.

    To equate European civilian vessels whose passengers were mostly humanitarians, aid workers and lefty pacifists, with North Korean ships is, frankly, laughable. The world has rightly condemned the attack on the Cheonan that killed many South Korean sailors, an incident that occurred between vessels of two Navies technically at war, will it now condemn a murderous attack on neutral vessels killing neutral civilians?

  26. Omri — on 1st June, 2010 at 7:11 am  

    4:30 AM is also considered an optimum time to conduct police operations including searches and arrests. IOW, you are full of shit.

  27. Leon — on 1st June, 2010 at 9:44 am  

    This is one of the weirdest discussions about Israel’s actions I’ve seen online…

  28. Sofia — on 1st June, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

    Israel does what it wants, when it wants and how it wants..end of…they don’t give a shit who dies as long as it’s not pro Israelis…their regret is a load of bollocks, their attempts at peaceful resolution is a load of bollocks…they treat palestinians like shit, humiliate, degrade and kill them and apparently it’s all because of hamas..and before hamas it was the plo…israelis don’t want peace, they would rather the palestinians pissed off to jordan…

  29. Gordon bennet — on 1st June, 2010 at 3:07 pm  

    Does Israeli Hasbara have a history of propogating highly edited videos, that later prove to be contrary to the truth?

    RESOUNDING YES (Firing from the UN school anyone?)

    Was Israel priming the world and the public for such an incident?

    YES. Long before the flotilla reached even near the shores of Gaza, politicians and military officials were calling the occupants “terrorists” and “al-qaeda” memebers in what only be called Goebbelsesque propoganda.

    Now we all know how Israel deals with people who it deems to be terrorists?( which incidentally now covers everyone including Israeli journalists)by a murderous extra judicial killings.

    Is anyone surprised that Israel commited this atrocity?

    F**K NO!

  30. Lucy — on 1st June, 2010 at 3:10 pm  

    You’re dead right Sofia.

    A bit more updated news: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7141783.ece
    According to this report (above link) nine activists killed are thought to have been Turkish.
    ========
    Clever of Israel? Well, Turkey doesn’t have the bomb. Maybe everybody should have one….

  31. fugstar — on 1st June, 2010 at 3:14 pm  

    How callous to project anti semitism onto turkish humanitarians.

    Demonstrates how easily such brown-and-outs fall prey to the Israeli PR engine, perhaps because their discources and objectives are intertwined.

  32. Don — on 1st June, 2010 at 3:32 pm  

    How callous to project anti semitism onto turkish humanitarians.

    I must have missed the post where someone did that.

    And what the hell is a ‘brown-and-out’?

  33. cjcjc — on 1st June, 2010 at 4:12 pm  
  34. genghis — on 1st June, 2010 at 7:45 pm  

    Ridiculous.

    Robert Fisk has made the best point in todays Independent. Our spineless politicians have left to us ‘normal’ citizens to highlight the flagrant abuse of international law by Israel.

    The occupation is illegal, therefore the blockade is illegal. Gaza/Palestine are a sovereign State under U.N Resolutions 242.

    International Maritime Law is explicit. What Israel has done is illegal.

    They shouldve let the flotilla thro to gaza and then checked the goods for any weaponary, if cleared they shouldve allowed the goods into gaza.

    Jumping onto the ships that were armed with what now appears to be ‘Wooden’ sticks as opposed to Steel bars, was wrank stupidity.

    Were the peacemakers looking for trouble? No, they were looking to break an illegal blockade that our spineless politicians dont have the gonads to deal with.

    Well PSC and IHH.

  35. DocMartyn — on 1st June, 2010 at 9:54 pm  

    “Were the protesters foolish to try and fight the commandos? Yes.

    Did this mean they deserved to die? No.”

    They were in breach of the Geneva Conventions, attacking uniformed troops whilst in civilian clothing, under flag of truce. Such action are classified as perfidy.
    In addition, by acting in this criminal manner, they also removed all the ‘protected’ status of all the other people in civilian clothing.

    Still, never mind, the Geneva Conventions never apply to people on your side.

  36. John Christopher — on 3rd June, 2010 at 12:54 am  

    When are we going to call this for what it is, MURDER? In Tottenham, if you come to a gunfight carrying a knife, YOU”RE GOING TO GET SHOT! There have been comments posted on this forum which have somehow equated the the violence meted out by the protestors as the same as the death and injury meted out by the IDF. If this is in fact the case, common morality (as well as plain common sense) is lost.

  37. jike99 — on 6th June, 2010 at 4:25 am  

    Is Israel such a pariah to intercept a flotilla of ships and activists bent on lifting Israel’s blockade of the Hamas regime (despite several warnings)? Properly elected though they may be, Hamas is nevertheless a regime whose charter, rhetoric, and behaviour are all aimed at Israel’s destruction.
    Why is it that Israel again finds itself in the center of a perfect media storm? It’s critics would argue because it’s actions merit such coverage but the facts rarely support the hostile perception it receives through simplistic imagery and narratives that fail to reflect the complexities on the ground in Israel or in Gaza. Few media outlets note the fact that Israel sends 15000 tons of goods and supplies into Gaza each week, a figure that makes the flotilla’s cargo a mere drop in the ocean. For all the discussion of a terrible “humanitarian crisis”, there is little hunger in Gaza, no starved children or famine deaths. There is only tyranny, extremism and endless war sustained by the brutal rule of Iranian backed Hamas. In relation to recent events the following points should be noted but as usual are ignored by media outlets keen to sensationalize a story, particularly one supporting their skewed perception that Israel is not the moral bastion it purports to be. I don’t know too many countries that given what Israel has had to withstand since 1948 in terms of hostility and media bias would come close to behaving in such a restrained manner. The hypocrisy of standards would be laughable if it wasn’t so contemptible or sad.
    1. The Palestinian people are not under blockade. In the West Bank, Israel has worked hard in the past year to bring prosperity and lay the foundations for peace. Most of the roadblocks are down and the West Bank’s economy is now one of the fastest growing in the world. There is only one reason that the blockade was instituted: to prevent the rearming of the brutal tyrants of Hamas, who would use those arms against Israel civilians and their own people.
    2. Civilians on the Flotilla were cynically exploited by terrorist organisations. Five ships did not act with violence toward the soldiers, and were peacefully brought to port. Only the ship that had planned in advance to brutally attack the soldiers and endanger their lives were in turn met with deadly force.
    3. There are ways to help the residents of Gaza that do not also help the Iran backed Hamas regime and terror organisations in the Gaza Strip. Supplies can be donated to UN agencies, for example. But Israel cannot allow open supply routes for war materials into Gaza.
    Israel is not asking for blind support for the Government’s position. Even within Israel there is criticism over the handling of the flotilla operation and the policy that led to it. Israel is a country that cherishes as their highest ideal the freedom to speak one’s mind and criticise. However, I for one, am happy to help defend it’ s image against those that seek to delegitimize and dehumanize it, an effort led by many who would deny it’s very right to exist. The flotilla was clearly a political act, not a humanitarian one and the ultimate goal of those who choose such premeditated violence (by provoking in the first place) is not peace but rather the destruction of Israel.

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