The Day In Israel: Wednesday June 2nd, 2010

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A British naval officer analyzes what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?



11:25PM: Yet more footage taken from the flotilla vessel, this time being of the flotillarists preparing for battle.

I wonder how the flotilla organizers are going to spin this.

11:18PM: Cartoon of the day (hat tip: Seraphic Secret).

flotilla

11:15PM: Just back from Comedy For Koby Show. We sat near the front, and Mrs Aussie Dave got picked on when the baby cried.

Yes, we bought our baby to a comedy show.

7:44PM: More on Hamas’ blocking delivery of the aid:

Israel can send aid that Gaza flotilla had carried to the coastal enclave “only if the shipments are complete and when Israel release all activists who were onboard the ships, Ziad Al- Zaza, Hamas’ Minister of Economy, told Xinhua.

“The priority is to release the detained activists,” Al-Zaza added.

7:42PM: Hamas is reportedly blocking delivery of the humanitarian aid that arrived on the Gaza flotilla

Security sources told Ynet that elements from the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit (COGAT) have been in contact with bodies from the international community and the Palestinian Authority, in order to ensure that the humanitarian equipment enters the Strip.

However, the sources said, they have been unsuccessful, due to difficulties and obstacles placed by Hamas.

According to the security sources, despite Hamas’ objection, the unloading of the goods at Ashdod Port continues. Port workers and Defense Ministry elements have been working to unload the cargo since the ships docked on Monday, and Tuesday night, eight trucks containing medical equipment, toys, clothing and medicine arrived at the Kerem Shalom crossing.

5:16PM: An Arab sponsored resolution to dispatch an international committee to Israel to investigate the flotilla raid has passed in the United Nations Human Rights Council by a majority vote of 32. Nine member states abstained while the United States, Canada and Holland voted against the motion.

3:58PM: Andrew Bolt: Boatloads of bloody-minded pacifists

3:55PM: Ha’aretz reports on Israelis using Facebook and Twitter to help Israel’s image in the wake of the flotilla incident.

No mention of Israellycool though.

2:28PM: More amazing footage of “peace activists” attacking IDF soldiers.

1:40PM: Israel’s Foreign Ministry has ordered the families of its diplomats in Ankara and Istanbul  to leave Turkey.

1:04PM: Some more interesting articles on the flotilla incident.

Would My Flotilla to Khodorkovsky Be Shot?

What’s To Investigate?

12:56PM: In this footage, you can hear the radio exchange between soldiers on their way to the bridge and the IDF ship. The soldiers report encountering live fire and serious violence (hat tip; Shy Guy)

9:52AM: Alan Dershowitz argues Israel’s actions were entirely lawful though probably unwise.

9:50AM: Forget the face that launched a thousand ships. Here’s one that could sink them.

(ship reference deliberate)

anti israel protester
AFP/Getty Images

9:38AM: More on some of the flotilla participants.

9:32AM: Nicaragua has suspended diplomatic ties with Israel  in protest at Israel’s raid on the flotilla that killed nine people.

We’ll really miss the..coffee?

9:15AM: The Jerusalem Post reports:

Dozens of passengers who were aboard the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger ship are suspected of having connections with global jihad-affiliated terrorist organizations, defense officials said on Tuesday, amid growing concerns that Turkish warships would accompany a future flotilla to the Gaza Strip.

According to the defense officials, the IDF has identified about 50 passengers on the ship who could have terrorist connections with global jihad-affiliated groups.

During its searches of the Mavi Marmara on Tuesday, the military also discovered a cache of bulletproof vests and night-vision goggles, as well as gas masks. On Monday morning, at least nine foreign activists were killed during the navy’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara, which was trying to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

9:10AM: Aussie Dave’s Rules of Anti-Israel Protests #28: The people with multi-colored hair are invariably the ones protesting against Israel.

anti-Israel protesters
AP

Related rule: Those who have not washed their hair in over a year are invariably the ones protesting against Israel.

9:02AM: I think a flying pig is in order: The Guardian has published this piece:

flying pigIsrael had no choice over Gaza flotilla

Flotilla activists had ample opportunity to defuse the situation before the IDF arrived – instead they decided on violence

The tragic events of Monday morning are, rightly, sending shockwaves around the world – but blaming the IDF alone for the carnage flies in the face of the facts. Video footage from an on-board news agency clearly shows a premeditated attack on Israeli soldiers, with activists using iron bars and other weapons to assault the troops and giving the IDF carte blanche to respond with force against them.

That there was a Nobel peace prize laureate on board is irrelevant. That there were electric-powered wheelchairs among the cargo is irrelevant. That Gazans are suffering immensely from the years’-old siege of their land is unpalatable and unfortunate – but also irrelevant in the context of this particular incident. Israel had given countless warnings to the activists not to proceed with their trip without first allowing the freight on their ships to be checked; Israel had repeatedly offered to allow the aid in as long as the activists handed it over to the army to be inspected.

At the same time, those supposedly bringing “aid” to the people of Gaza have form for using alleged acts of humanitarianism as cover for weapons smuggling – and Israel has every right to defend its own citizens from the consequences of such illicit transfer of arms. There is not a country on earth that would not take similar steps to protect its people; there is not an army on earth that would not allow its soldiers to respond with force to neutralise a life-threatening attack on their fellow troops.

The activists who launched the vicious assault on the boarding soldiers knew full well what they were doing. They had issued threat after threat against the IDF in the days building up to this morning’s clash, with convoy organiser Huwaida Arraf brashly declaring his group’s unwavering dedication to reaching Gaza: “They are going to have to forcefully stop us.” Club-wielding assailants might not fit the cute and cuddly image of stereotypical aid workers, but there can be no doubt from the evidence that those attacking the Israeli forces were not the archetype of calm and measured peace activists.

One of the first diplomatic reactions to the deadly affair came from Murat Mercan, a lawmaker from Turkey’s ruling party: “I was expecting an intervention. I was not expecting bloodshed, the use of arms and bullets.” The official Turkish line is that Israel has behaved in an “unacceptable” fashion, yet – unsurprisingly – not one Turkish politician has had the honesty or courage to lay an iota of blame at the feet of the ultra-violent activists. Without such a sustained attack on the troops, Mercan’s predictions of a blood-free intervention would have come to pass: but he, like many others in his position, prefers not to dwell on such minor details if it means having to concede even an inch of ground to the Israelis.

Reports have surfaced claiming that an activist tore a soldier’s machine gun from his grasp and used it to shoot him with: what might have seemed a far-fetched story spun to improve the IDF’s standing over the attack is given far more credence when considered in the context of quite how savagely numerous activists greeted the arrival of the troops on to the ship. Those on board the ship had ample opportunity to defuse the situation in the days and hours leading up to the commandos’ arrival: instead, they decided that violence was the best way to play their hand, and given their intransigence, there was only ever going to be one outcome.

In the wider political context, Israel’s government and army are clearly at fault over a myriad of issues, as are the leaders and politicians of Hamas – but what took place aboard the Freedom flotilla must be viewed in isolation in terms of the violence from both sides, rather than used as yet another rod with which to beat Israel simply because it suits certain parties to do so.

The immediate response of hundreds of civilians in Turkey – attacking consulates, fighting with local police – is another example of the resorting-to-violence mob’s myopic behaviour that so impedes efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine imbroglio using peaceful and diplomatic means. Violence is the stock in trade of extremists on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian war: settlers and soldiers on one side, militants and terror leaders on the other; pretending that the violence emanates from the Israeli side only is a spurious and senseless way to paint the picture.

When Israel’s wrongs are brought to light, they deserve condemnation as much as those of the Palestinians, but that does not mean automatically that in any situation the default position ought to be Israel is guilty until proven innocent. In the case of the Freedom flotilla, Israel made repeated efforts during recent weeks to assist the activists in their mission and avoid bloodshed.

Even during the raid, troops did not fire on those on board at first, instead simply trying to go about their business of inspecting the cargo. When they were attacked with venomous force by the activists, they were left with no choice but to respond in kind. Those are the only facts that matter here, and all the kneejerk Israel-hating in the world won’t absolve the activist aggressors from their share of guilt for the horrific events that unfolded today.

6:32AM: From the Free Gaza mailing list:

The Israeli military has been busy spinning the story of their attack on a civilian convoy trying to deliver aid to the imprisoned people of Gaza. They’ve had a head start, sending out edited videos, posting ‘supposed’ military footage of the passengers attacking them, saying that they confiscated weapons which turned out to be marbles, sling shots, kitchen knives and aluminum chairs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLrX7fznVgI

But they can’t spin for much longer. Video footage from dozens of people is beginning to surface about what really happened. Al Jazeera has posted their coverage as gun shots sound in the background, speakers beg the passengers to go below and a white flag is set out for the paramilitary groups. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn-l_JltCB4

More will come out as passengers are released. We already know that Israel shot the captain of the Marmara and the European Campaign boat, maybe hoping that we would no longer be able to hire captains. Several activists have spoken to their Consulates and told of being kicked, beaten, dragged along the ground, tear gassed and bags thrown over their heads.

Knowing that video of this vicious attack in international waters was going to surface, Captain Aria Shaliker of the Israel Defense Forces, who was part of the operation on Monday, said the commandos began the raids armed with paint ball guns. “I was, myself, on one of the boats, the Israeli boats, approaching the flotilla,” he told the BBC’s World Today programme. “It is true that the Israeli commander unit… came on board with paint ball weapons… in order to disperse people.

No mention of paint-stained clothing.

As Israel’s hysteria mounts, “they now claim “self defense” in attacking ships in international waters today, killing 9.  Israel informed the US and Britain that the convoy was ferrying stolen nuclear weapons that would be used for a terrorist attack on Israel.  The “stolen nukes” have been in Israel for 18 years while the US has spent billions of dollars and thousands of lives looking for them. Today 9 more died” http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/06/gordon-duff-israel-scams-u-s-%E2%80%9Cgaza-convoy-carrying-stolen-nukes%E2%80%9D/

The world is watching a county imploding, having a massive nervous breakdown in full view. It’s tragic that thousands of Palestinians have died and 9 human rights workers lost their lives yesterday.

Notice the ridiculous claims like the mention of paint ball guns being due to knowledge that the “real video” would surface (and not that the soldiers actually had paintball guns), Israel not mentioning paint stained clothing, and the icing on the cake – the claims of some blog made without any proof or attribution.

6:25AM: Israel yesterday loaded onto trucks bound for Gaza the majority of the aid on board the ships.

“We have been working non-stop for the last twenty-four hours examining the cargo holds of the three large cargo ships and I can say with great assurance, that none of the equipment on board is needed in Gaza. The equipment that we found is all equipment that we have regularly allowed into the strip over the past year,” said Levi. “This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the whole premise of the voyage was for propaganda and provocation and not for humanitarian purposes.”

—-

Twenty-four hours after the last ship of the Gaza aid flotilla entered the Ashdod Port under the watchful eye of the Israeli Navy, all of the equipment on board was examined Tuesday and the majority of it was loaded onto trucks headed to the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The flotilla’s flagship, the Marmara – where the clash between Israeli commandoes and the passengers took place and which held the participant’s personal belongings – had yet to be fully inspected.

In a statement to reporters at the port on Tuesday, Colonel Moshe Levi, commander of the IDF’s Gaza Strip Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), said that none of the equipment found on board the three cargo ships was in shortage in Gaza.

Levi said that eight trucks full of equipment had already crossed into Gaza and that 20 additional trucks would be transferred throughout the night and the following day.

According to Levi, the soldiers also found construction equipment, including sacks of concrete and metal rods. He said that Israel did not allow those products to enter into the Gaza strip for fear that they would be used to construct fortifications for terrorists and for weapons manufacture.

Gidi Gofer, head of the Defense Ministry’s international transport division, said that the equipment that arrived in the cargo ships did not have proper transport manifests or any of the paperwork required to legally ship cargo by sea. “The cargo did not meet international safety or operational standards,” said Gofer.

Gofer explained that his job was to oversee the security inspection of the cargo and his team was doing it with the aid of bomb squads, explosive-detecting dogs and x-ray machines. “We are currently liaising with the Palestinian Authority so that they will receive the approved equipment according to the agreed upon procedures,” said Gofer. “The illegal construction materials were removed from the ships and will be held by us awaiting further instructions.”

Ashdod Port CEO Shuki Sagis said that the port authorities were prepared to accept the ships in advance of their arrival and under the military supervision, began unloading it on Monday evening.

“The cargo ships were loaded haphazardly, with all of the equipment mixed up in the large holds. Ships loaded in this way would not be accepted in any port. We are loading the equipment on the trucks far more carefully than it was loaded on to the ships,” he said.

6:06AM: What you need to know about the IHH, the Turkish “humanitarian relief fund”, which played a central role in organizing the flotilla.

6:04AM: Good editorial from the Washington Times.

6:02AM: In the face of mounting world criticism, Israel will release all 620 flotillards detained during the raid within 48 hours.

Or is it 680?

This means Israel will not be prosecuting those who attacked IDF soldiers with weapons. Or does it?

Holy conflicting reports, Batman!

12:55AM: One, brave L.A. high-school student stands up to a crowd of anti-Israel demonstrators.

12:26AM: Head Hamashole Khaled Mashaal hearts the Goldstone Report.

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Ziad Al- Zaza

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