Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Israel and the Aid Flotilla

So this time Israel has finally provoked an international outcry as a result of its incompetent handling of the interception of the Aid Flotilla. For a while I thought that the incident had been so badly handled, and so badly timed, that it must be a politically motivated conspiracy to undermine Nettanyahu. The defence minister, Ehud Barak who ordered it, is after all a political rival. But on further reflection I think that it is a tragic mistake rather than a conspiracy. Sadly Israeli mistakes usually cost other people’s lives.
If you send highly trained killers to undertake a police action and they meet resistance they will kill. It’s what their training is all about. So that was the first mistake. Next you have to ask why Israel launched the assault in international waters leaving them open to be accused of piracy and of disregarding international law. That was their second mistake. But Israel has been so protected from criticism by their international supporters over the years that I suppose they thought that aspect was unimportant and, as Gideon Levy said yesterday in a television interview on the BBC about his article in Haaretz, “Israel considers itself above the law”.
Israel never fails to miss opportunities for peace. They go through the motions usually without any real intention of ever resolving the Palestinian issue. They seem to like living under the siege mentality that the resistance to their persistent occupation of Palestinian land engenders. Or is it that the only way to unite the country, which is so politically diverse and fractious, is to have an external enemy?
Every time a rocket is fired from Gaza it is a propaganda opportunity for the Israeli government, who are very well organised on that front. Labelling Hamas a terrorist organisation and persuading western governments not to recognize a legitimately elected government was masterly.
Of course their supporters in the diaspora are well placed to label any criticism of Israel in the West as anti-Semitic and few in Europe or the States dare to criticise Israel directly. It is not anti-Semitic to criticise a government capable of launching a war against the population of Gaza and killing over 1,300 Palestinians principally in an attempt to get themselves re-elected. (Winter 2008-2009). The Israeli casualty count in that three week conflict was 13 of which 10 were defence force personnel. A 100 to 1 casualty ratio is not untypical for Palestinian Israeli conflicts, a grotesque extension of the biblical “an eye for an eye” doctrine, which seems to be considered acceptable in Israel and in the West.
I have great difficulty in understanding how a state, founded on the ashes and corpses of 6 million Jews and brought into being after a Zionist terrorist campaign in Palestine, can behave so inhumanely to the citizens of the land which it continues to occupy illegally. The oppressed have become the oppressors and they have persuaded the West to accept that what they do is legitimate.
If the outcry over the Flotilla incident hardens into a loss of patience with Israel perhaps 9 more people will not have died in vain. Egypt has lifted the blockade of Gaza and must put an end to it for good. Western governments should openly criticise Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and demand that they negotiate a real peace. The initiative is with Obama but he is just the last of a long line of Presidents scared of the Jewish lobby in the States and, although he has now called for the blockade to be lifted, will he actually do anything?
Meanwhile individuals should boycott Israeli produce until some results begin to come from peace talks. In the UK I boycotted Israeli produce for many years. In France there is very little on sale so I am forced to resort to blogging instead.


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