Israeli Attack’s Silver Lining?

freedom floatillaDetails of Israel’s attack on the flotilla to Gaza containing humanitarian aid are still leaking out from the Israeli attempt to stifle them. But even if Israel’s spin about its attack on the flotilla is accepted, the situation is still fairly damning for Israel.

Israel maintains that it ordered the flotilla to divert to the Israeli port of Ashdod from the blockaded Gaza coast. When the ship did not do so, Israel launched a commando raid that killed at least nine passengers and wounded dozens more. At least seven Israeli soldiers were wounded in the attack. The Israelis maintain that their soldiers, boarding the ships by repelling from helicopters, were attacked by the passengers with metal rods, knives, slingshots, and two pistols commandeered from the soldiers themselves. The Israelis released a video from early in the operation showing passengers attacking the military men, who claimed to carry only paintball guns and pistols that they didn’t expect to use. The Israelis claimed they killed the aggressive passengers only in self-defense. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, at a press conference, claimed, “The entire flotilla is a political and media provocation by anti-Israeli activists. They have absolutely nothing to do with humanitarian aid.”

The passengers have a different story. One al-Jazeera reporter maintained that the Israelis shot at the ships before boarding. The organizers of the flotilla maintain that the commandos began shooting from the time they landed on the ship at 4 a.m. and released videos to support that position.

Yet even if we disregard flotilla organizers’ rendition of events and charitably accept Israel’s story as what happened, Israel is still culpable. The Israeli military attacked unarmed ships in international waters about 41 miles from the Israeli coastline—well beyond the 12-mile limit of Israeli territorial waters—to enforce an illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. The blockade is a violation of international law and an act of war. Thus, the passengers of any ship being illegally attacked have a right to defend themselves with any armaments they can scrounge up, including pistols captured from incompetent commandos.

The Israelis claiming self-defense while in attack mode is similar to what their former patron, George W. Bush, claimed as he invaded the sovereign state of Iraq. As with Bush, the Israelis have always believed that “the best defense is a good offense.”

Not only were the Israelis in attack mode, they used what French President Nicolas Sarkozy aptly called “the disproportionate use of force” against the flotilla. After all, the flotilla contained aid supplies for the Gazan people, not weapons going to Hamas. Einat Wilf, a member of the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, admitted, “This had nothing to with security. The armaments for Hamas were not coming from this flotilla.” Before the attack, she had cautioned the Israeli government that this was a public relations issue, not a military one.

The Israelis have repeatedly justified the total blockade of Gaza on the basis of preventing such weapons from reaching Hamas and have also maintained that no humanitarian crisis in Gaza exists because of the quarantine. But the United Nations and non-governmental organizations have debunked the latter notion. And even though the Obama administration supports the Israeli blockade, Obama’s aides say that he has privately criticized the poor humanitarian conditions in Gaza. It is clear that the Israelis only let enough supplies through the blockade to prevent an immediate humanitarian disaster and politically manipulate the strictures by saying nothing will change until an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas has been returned.

ivan-eland.jpgTerrorism is usually defined as harming a population by collective punishment to pressure its leadership to make political changes. Normally we think of small groups terrorizing a population with bombs, but governments purposefully killing civilians with bombs (such as the allies did to Japan and Germany in World War II) or inducing starvation and illness with a more slow-motion blockade should also be considered terrorism. It is appalling that civilized nations, such as Israel and its U.S. patron, are committing or endorsing, respectively, this illegal and immoral quarantine.

The one silver lining to Israel’s unconscionable attack on a humanitarian flotilla is that its reprehensible collective punishment of Gazans through blockade likely will be made politically “unsustainable.”

Ivan Eland

This article first appeared in The Independent Institute and is republished with permis


  1. Paul McDermott says

    TL believes that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ethnic cleansing — remove all the Palestinians to the Sinai desert so that the Zionists can have their quasi religious nationalsit homeland all to themselves. This is the root cause of past wars, including the Nazis’ creation of a racially pure Aryan homeland. Haven’t the Zionists learned anything from their own Jewish history? Are they committed to a cycle of vengeance, repeating the mistakes of the past? It’s sad to see how they have transferred their animus toward their Semitic brethren in a perpetual state of violence, not unlike the biblical Cain and Abel.

    TL Winslow and Joe Weinstein, trolling on this progressive website, need to shake off their supernationalist ideology and get in touch with their basic sense of humanity. A sense of justice and equality has always been a foundation of traditional Jewish belief. TL and Joe, stop being apologists for the Dark Side.

  2. says

    Sorry, but the flotilla was a setup by rapidly re-Islamizing Turkey allied with Israel-hating Hamas to create a provocation for a future war with Israel, and the rest is b.s. Who cares how many of the Allah Akbars were killed or how when all they wanted was martyrdom in the first place, hopefully after killing some hated Jews? The peaceful arrest and towing of the second flotilla sans the Turkish jihadists showed who was to blame for the first one getting violent, as do several other flotillas peacefully intercepted and towed before it. As to the blockade, why not complain about Egypt not Israel? Why doesn’t it drop its end of it and resettle the Palestinians in its huge territory? Answer: all Arabs know that there never was an Arab state of Palestine as all Arabs are part of the greater Muslim community or Ummah facing Mecca for their daily prayers, and indeed Palestine was virtually depopulated when the Jews started settling it. For centuries it was run by the Turks not Arabs anyway, and the demise of the Ottoman Empire caused it to come up for grabs. It’s the Arabs who won’t accept a Jewish state. Why? Because they still cling to the Quran and obey Allah’s commands to never yield one square inch of any of Allah’s land to infidels, and just want to exterminate the Jews from the area and reintegrate it into the Ummah whether it goes back to being undeveloped or not. Hence the “Palestinian people” are a false label and there can be no 1-state, 2-state or any other kind of solution unless they drop Islam and its intolerance and supremacy, or move out and leave the poor outnumbered surrounded Jews alone.

    Study Islam’s history with the Historyscoper and see how the Arabs got control of it at

    Study Jerusalem’s history and see why history awards it and environs to the Jews not Arabs:

    • SK says

      “…leave the poor outnumbered surrounded Jews alone.”

      That’s funny, Winslow. Would those poor Jews be those murderous terrorists that receive billions of US tax dollars and weapons so they can expand their claim to land that God says belongs to them?

      I’m not saying Hamas and violent Palestinians are any different, but please, let’s stop pretending the world is picking on Jews and Israel has no choice but to murder innocent women and children in order to defend itself.

      Maybe the silver lining from Israel’s most recent aggression and murder will be public outcry that results in stopping the US government from funding the terrorists known as the government of Israel.


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