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May 312010
 

So we all woke up this morning to find out that the Israeli thugs sorry, military have seized a ship containing “humanitarian” supplies for the Gaza strip. The ship itself was in international waters at the time, leaving Israel in a very precarious legal position given that ships in international waters are subject to the laws of the country in which they are registered. The only exception to that is where the ship or the crew of a ship are an “enemy of mankind” which is usually taken to be those guilty of piracy or slavery. Terrorism is not on the list. And aid workers aren’t either.

The Israelis are claiming that their soldiers only started shooting after those on board started firing; those on board claim the Israelis boarded whilst firing. Well making a careful, thoughtful assessment of the relative believability of both sides, I know who I believe (and it ain’t Israel). But it really does not matter: those on board ship were entitled to defend themselves in whatever way they felt appropriate when boarded illegally.

Israel is claiming that the “aid” on it’s way to Gaza was merely a cover for smuggling arms to Gaza. So what? It’s not as if Israel itself hasn’t done that. But to be honest, after the amount of distrust that Israel deserves, most people will think at worst that most of the ship’s cargo is in fact humanitarian aid. And from every report, Gaza needs all the humanitarian aid it can get, although Israel thinks it needs no more than 15,000 tons a week.

Israel needs to understand that the more it sticks a finger up to international opinion, the more condemnation and less belief it will get. In normal circumstances, a country that allowed it’s military forces to carry out an act that is effectively piracy even if there is a good reason behind it would get a good ticking off and then it would be forgotten about. Israel ?

Well they keep doing this shit. Year after year, and decade after decade. There are no signs that they are willing to compromise to move towards peace with the Palestinians; whatever they might say, their actions seem aimed to inflame opinion. Perhaps the Palestinians are also somewhat to blame, but frankly Israel is the bully in that little corner of the world.

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