Monday, May 31, 2010

And this is not piracy because?

"Israel today stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza, killing 10 pro-Palestinian activists and injuring dozens.

The ships, several of them Turkish, were carrying medical equipment and other aid on a mission to highlight the three-year-old Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory. The attack took place 40 miles out to sea, in international waters.

The Israel Defence Forces confirmed that at least 10 protesters were killed and four naval officers wounded, one seriously. Israeli Arab groups say a prominent activist is among the wounded." Guardian UK news item.

Israel just took another step into the dark side today. It just blackened its reputation and its soul a little more. This was not a justified strategic military action, it was not even a short term military tactic; it was piracy. With only the paper thin justification, Israel just committed a crime on the high seas. They used to hang people for these kinds of things.

This action was an illegal and immoral action in support of a bigger illegal and immoral policy. For some time Israel has laid siege to the Gaza Strip. In an effort last seen in the Near East in the time of Napoleon, Israel is attempting to cut off Gaza from it sustenance. The only differences between the present day and the Napoleonic siege of Acre are the tools involved and the length of the action.

Gaza is cut off; it has no shipping port or airport. Its land lines are blocked by Israel, with a not so secret assist from Egypt. Only the feverish digging of tunnels by the Palestinians has barred a complete cut off of supplies. Against the might of the Israeli army and the steel wall of the Egyptians, the Palestinians have countered with spades and cutting torches. By these devices supplies are smuggled into Gaza through a few venerable tunnels.

The ship in question was a very dramatic way of attempting to finally break this de facto siege. Part of the cargo on board was medical and building supplies. Little noted in the rush of foreign news is the fact that none of the buildings flattened or damaged by Operation Cast Lead have been replaced or repaired. Gaza remains in a state of ruin not seen since the Visigoths sacked Rome. Gaza's medical infrastructure continues in a state of advance decay. The boot of Israel lies heavy on the people of the strip. Israel is bound and determined that not a gram of supplies gets into Gaza without its say-so.

Israel has turned other flotillas back; it is even claimed that Israel has rammed the odd do-gooder yacht attempting to break the blockade. But this latest incident, the assault on a Turkish flagged vessel is a much bigger affair. Let's be honest, if this was any other nation the U.S. Navy would be steaming toward the area to do a little saber-rattling. Turkey is our ally, Turkey is a part of NATO, and we would normally respond to such a provocation with alacrity.

What Israel did is little different from the depredations of the Somali pirates. It was a brash, in your face action. Israel treated the flag of Turkey with the same amount of respect you would give a pot holder. This was an act of epic hubris. This is an act that has Bibi's grubby little finger prints all over it. No one does pointless, self-destructive, self-defeating outrages quite like Netanyahu. This was epically foolish.

Poor Secretary of State Clinton, her three day holiday is now totally scotched. Foggy Bottom must be working overtime to do damage control. So too must be the White House. So too must be many other diplomats all over the world. The entire diplomatic world has got to be super crisis mode. Aids all over the world are breaking out the CO2 fire extinguishers to put out all the diplomatic hair that just burst into flames. After that, it's man the hoses for the three-alarm conflagration that Bibi the arsonist just set off.

One wonders what kind of consideration the Israeli government gave this military action before it undertook it. What, if anything, were they thinking? It is fairly clear that they cared not a whit for world opinion. It is fairly clear that they ignored the wishes of Washington. Israel just did what it pleased and hang the consequences. It followed the perverse logic of the Occupation.

That is what is at the core of this action. It is the continued illegal, illogical, and immoral occupation of the Gaza strip and the West Bank by the Jewish State. Israel is drinking deep from this poisoned chalice. Year by year, and decade by decade, the poison works its way through the body politic. One can see the ethical deterioration of the nation of Israel from 1967. One can watch the slow degradation of the Israeli morality. More and more the idea that might makes right has taken hold of the Jewish State. There is no way in 1967 that Israelis would accept the economic and literal starvation of the Gaza Palestinians. Today, not only do they allow such things to occur, a significant cohort defends such practices. The occupation is slowly brutalizing and dehumanizing the Israeli people. We are watching this unfold before our eyes. We have just witness another large step toward the abyss. We have just watched the nation of Israel hoist the Jolly Rodger; it is a nauseating spectacle to observe.