Gaza ‘peace flotilla’ incident

Gaza ‘peace flotilla’ incident

The Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak government is obviously inept in its dealings with the world, yet it’s not clear to me that the commandos acted in a way that may be regarded as criminal. They apparently were attacked as they boarded one ship by activists of a militant Turkish Islamist group.

Still, this incident further damages and possibly destroys Israel’s friendship with Turkey, and further isolates Israel in the forum of world opinion. This links to the outraged reaction of a liberal pro-Israel blogger, Michael Lame.

At the May board meeting of Meretz USA, Naomi Chazan (a former Meretz Member of Knesset who is now president of the New Israel Fund) noted with distaste that Israeli generals determine whether Gaza children eat rice or pasta (yes to rice, no to pasta). She repeated her long-standing view that the blockade must end.

This is a peculiar blockade, however, where Israel supplies the besieged people of Gaza with thousands of tons of food and other materials on a daily basis. There is genuine privation in Gaza, and virtually no functioning economy there, but there is no apparent starvation, or we would surely have been informed of many thousands of deaths. For this reason, and not only this reason, comparisons of Gaza with the Warsaw Ghetto (or some such) are offensive and inappropriate.

But it is true that Gazans are imprisoned there, in a deliberate Israeli strategy which is actively aided by Egypt. There is no good reason for students accepted to study abroad or in the West Bank, for example, to be forbidden to travel.

Still, the Hamas-controlled government, by its ongoing violent hostility toward Israel, has placed Gazans in the position of biting the hand that feeds them. I see it as only right for all concerned that an end to the blockade be part of a negotiated deal that includes controls against the importation of offensive weapons. Israel’s government is ineptly making Hamas and its supporters into heroes.

By | 2010-06-01T13:45:00-04:00 June 1st, 2010|Blog|4 Comments


  1. D June 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Ralph, I appreciate how difficult it is to defend Israel, but some things are indefensible. Piracy and murder in international waters is one of them. Rather than pondering the nuances of disproproportionate force, how about simply condemning force?

  2. Ralph Seliger June 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I don’t see this as piracy, D. Blockades are allowed in times of conflict. According to Seth Freedman, writing at The Guardian blog site,, Israel wanted to inspect the cargo for weapons and other military-related materials and had promised to allow the humanitarian supplies to go through.

    Was force disproportionate? Quite possible, but I wasn’t there.

  3. Ron Skolnik June 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    FYI: The official Meretz USA statement can be found here:

  4. Gibson Block June 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Ralph, this is a balanced and fair posting.

    Because you include obvious information that others choose to ignore.

    – Hamas is at war with Israel
    – no one is starving in Gaza
    – the boat wasn’t manned by peaceniks
    – there might have been a better way to deal with the problem.

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