meanfreepath: (Default)
[personal profile] meanfreepath
Why does Israel have to be put on the defensive internationally after its commandos use limited force in response to being attacked with potentially deadly weapons? Would anyone be complaining if the men and women of the US Navy were to use lethal force to defend themselves in the course of interdicting Somali pirates?

Date: 2010-05-31 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
All right, I'll take the other side.

Why are they laying siege to Gaza? Well, obviously the answer is that Gaza is launching missiles at Israel. But why are they blocking humanitarian aid?

Date: 2010-05-31 09:13 pm (UTC)
ext_248645: (Default)
From: [identity profile] indecisionwins.livejournal.com
Yeah, so I'm also kind of confused about what happened with this situation, but I don't think Israel is exactly in the right here...

I mean, I guess there's some sense to the blockade, ie. to make conditions even worse in Gaza to try to drive Hamas out of power (?), and this ship was blatantly trying to challenge that policy, so that demanded some sort of response, unless Israel was willing to back down from its blockade. (And maybe Israel should drop the blockade--I don't know--although it probably would be seen as a major sign of weakness to do it under these circumstances.) But either way, it seems like Israel was much more aggressive than it needed to be in responding. (By the way, Jerome, I'm not sure what you're referring to with potentially deadly weapons, but again I haven't read/heard all that much about the details of this story yet... But my impression was that the people on board the ship only started to fight back AFTER the Israeli soldiers started attacking them, which puts more of the blame on Israel's decision to respond so aggressively to the incursion.)

Date: 2010-05-31 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
NPR says it's unclear who attacked whom first, after the Israelis had boarded the ship.

Date: 2010-05-31 09:30 pm (UTC)
ext_248645: (Default)
From: [identity profile] indecisionwins.livejournal.com
Yeah, OK... Still, even if they weren't the first to attack, the Israeli army had just boarded the ship (by helicopter, at that), so it seems like the options for the people on the ship were either immediate surrender, or a fight; it might have been nice for the Israelis to try some negotiation first... (Or maybe there was reason to believe that that wouldn't get them anywhere, I don't know--but still, regardless of who actually attacked first on board the ship, it does seem like the Israelis were probably the ones primarily responsible for the situation escalating to violence as quickly as it did... Or am I missing other important details?)

Date: 2010-05-31 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
I think this whole thing is really weird partly because it's been in the works for days. I've been cringing in anticipation of the outcome this whole time. Why didn't they communicate in advance? Both sides seem to have acted immaturely.

Date: 2010-05-31 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
erm, well I guess Israel actually did send warnings to the ship that it would not be permitted to pass the blockade.

and I guess some previous aid ships had been permitted to pass the blockade

Date: 2010-05-31 10:49 pm (UTC)
ext_248645: (Default)
From: [identity profile] indecisionwins.livejournal.com
Hmm, I hadn't heard about this at all before today--was it in the news because the ship was heading towards Gaza with clear plans to challenge the blockade? Or was it actually sitting in the Mediterranean trying to convince the Israelis to make an exception to (or drop) the blockade? I'm guessing it's the former?

Oh, and I'm also not sure that I'd call what was on that YouTube video negotiation; I mean, they gave them a chance to turn around, but Israel clearly never made any offer to do anything about the policy that was being challenged. And I mean, maybe that's a justifiable decision, I don't know--but it seems like the current Israeli government is generally very stubborn, and insists on sticking to what it thinks it needs to do for defense, no matter how many other countries it angers... ([livejournal.com profile] ccommack also raises some interesting issues about why Israel really shouldn't have picked this situation to stick stubbornly and absolutely to a policy that seems questionable to begin with...)

Date: 2010-05-31 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meanfreepath.livejournal.com
Blockades, and their maintenance through force, are a legal and long-established tradition in warfare. To my mind it would have been justifiable in military terms for the commandos to have withdrawn once attacked and then to have naval or air assets blow the ship out of the water.

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From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-05-31 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-05-31 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
they gave them a chance to turn around

That's not how I heard it. The soldiers said that if the ship docked at Ashdod, then the supplies would be delivered. (Except not the cement.)

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Date: 2010-05-31 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6jDIQr59Sk&NR=1

This does sound like Israelis trying negotiation first.

Date: 2010-05-31 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eclectic-boy.livejournal.com
Further, I'm unclear on these "potentially deadly weapons". The story I read suggested that when people came onto their ship from a helicopter, the ship's crew used poles and tools to try to beat them off. It sounds a lot more like defending yourself from boarders using whatever was at hand than "attack[ing] with potentially deadly weapons". Yes, a wrench can be a deadly weapon... but to call it that makes it sound like you want it treated like a gun.

Is the story I heard wrong, and the ship used guns/bayonets/grenades?

Date: 2010-05-31 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
I just found this video of the event.

Date: 2010-05-31 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meanfreepath.livejournal.com
I would personally consider metal poles and the like potentially deadly weapons. I'm pretty sure that if I were to start attacking a police officer with a crowbar or maybe even a baseball bat, in most jurisdictions the officer would be justified in shooting me, and I wouldn't think it unjustified. There is certainly a long history in warfare of using ersatz objects, such as entrenching spades, as lethal weapons in hand-to-hand combat, even as recently as Vietnam.

Some accounts I have read also indicate that the protesters seized guns from the Israelis. There's footage that shows some of the commandos being thrown overboard. Two Israelis suffered gunshot wounds. I would grant that it is possible for one or more of these cases to be from friendly fire, but that even if it was the Israelis who fired first the amount of violence they met while boarding more than justified the use of proportionate lethal force.

Date: 2010-05-31 10:30 pm (UTC)
ccommack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ccommack
Seizing a cargo ship could have been done 1) in daylight, and 2) within the 12-mile limit, instead of in international waters. The way it was actually done smacks of piracy itself, as opposed to a legitimate use of a state's naval power.

Even if the ships were trying to run a legal blockade (which it's not clear that it is), they have legally done nothing wrong until they cross the 12-mile line. Also, Israel picked the wrong country to antagonize; not only was Turkey formerly one of its own best friends and allies, but seizing Turkish-flagged merchant shipping in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea constitutes sovereign aggression, which (if things escalate) qualifies Turkey to request assistance under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

Date: 2010-05-31 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meanfreepath.livejournal.com
The point of a dawn raid is generally the element of surprise. Clearly this didn't succeed, but to my mind overwhelming the ship through a successful surprise attack would have accomplished the objective of stopping the vessel with the fewest injuries on either side, as well as serve to remind the world that Israel, perhaps reeling from the passport flap during the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh assassination, is not to be trifled with.

Date: 2010-06-01 02:04 am (UTC)
uncleamos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] uncleamos
You're arguing the small point and ignoring the big one.

Date: 2010-06-01 02:41 am (UTC)
ccommack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ccommack
Thank you.

Date: 2010-06-01 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meanfreepath.livejournal.com
Israel had given plenty of warning that the flotilla was in hostile waters and had ordered it to divert to Ashdod, which the Mavi Marmara had refused to do. Would any reasonable person expect it to sail right up to the 12-mile line and then turn around? The alternative would have been for the Israelis to wait for the ship to come within an arbitrary line and lose a potential tactical advantage.

More fundamentally, I would question whether the twelve-mile territorial waters limit is really relevant here, in the context of a blockade and a war/police action. In Vietnam, we certainly mined and blockaded harbors such as Haiphong.

Date: 2010-06-01 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arctangent.livejournal.com
"We're at war". "We're at war". "We're at war". Same goddamn litany that can be used to justify anything.

Look, if Israel really wants to be at war with the whole damn world, Israel will eventually get its wish -- as long as they keep pushing -- and the results will probably not bode well for Israel.

Their current strategy of treating some of the most starving and desperate people in the world as incredibly deadly hostile combatants has certainly borne rich fruit for them over the years. If they lump every outsider who takes umbrage at this assessment of the situation as also being hostile combatants the Levant is likely to get even more fun to live in soon.

Date: 2010-06-02 07:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
"If the intent was to surprise and overwhelm the passengers, why not break off the attempt when it was clear they were not surprised or overwhelmed?"

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/06/gaza_flotilla

Date: 2010-06-01 03:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arctangent.livejournal.com
Would anyone be complaining if the men and women of the US Navy were to use lethal force to defend themselves in the course of interdicting Somali pirates?

If the Somali "pirates" were attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to illegally occupied territory through an illegal blockade? Yes. People would be complaining. Those people would probably be lambasted as anti-American, terrorist sympathizers, etc., but they'd complain.

Date: 2010-06-01 04:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arctangent.livejournal.com
(The closest parallel I can think of would be, say, teleporting us back in time to the war with the Philippines and imagining peace activists trying to bring aid and comfort to the Filipinos while the good men of the Navy were trying to bring Aguinaldo's forces to heel.

This is a very bad parallel in many ways, but it's a close enough parallel in enough ways that I can confidently say that, yeah, I'd be complaining. I was going to bring Native Americans into it for a closer parallel, but it's too hard to make that fit with the whole naval blockade thing.)

Date: 2010-06-01 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
Please, please: formerly illegally occupied territory.

Date: 2010-06-01 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sildra.livejournal.com
What does "illegally occupied territory" even mean? Particularly in this context it sounds more like a veiled insult than meaningful terminology.

Date: 2010-06-02 06:51 am (UTC)

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