Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Here's another comprehensive collection of useful information regarding the Gaza Flotilla. Judging from the traffic, yesterday's posting seems to have helped a considerable number of people: Video: Gaza Flotilla Thugs Stab Israeli Soldiers, Use Immediate Extreme Violence (Important Updates)
[Update: Before we get to the links. Here's one young man, D Laugier, who wasn't afraid to venture down to the Boston Common yesterday, and do a lone-man counter-protest to the "spontaneous" protest there yesterday. We salute his bravery and his indefatigability:]
Now back to the links:
Let's try, once again, to put to bed some of the legal issues:
Under international law Israel is within its rights to establish a maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, since Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a hostile terrorist entity that has launched missiles into Israel targeting and killing civilians, and has also infiltrated and attempted to infiltrate into Israel in order to carry out attacks.
While allowing inspected food and other essential materials into Gaza via trucks, Israel has announced that ships attempting to transport supposedly humanitarian supplies into Gaza would have to first dock in Israel for the supplies to be inspected, after which legitimate humanitarian supplies would be trucked into Gaza.
The organizers of the Gaza-bound ships have consistently refused to allow their cargo to be inspected, which seems to prove that their humanitarian aid is just a pretext, and their real aim is simply to break the blockade. Whatever their aim however, Israel has a right under international law to prevent such ships from reaching Gaza...
They go on to quote the relevant international law.
Julian Ku, writing at Opinio Juris answers the question: Did the Israeli Defense Forces Commandos Commit "Piracy"? Nope.
...let me start by advising IDF critics to drop the silly accusation that Israel committed "piracy," which various folks have made...whatever can be said about the legality of the raid, it was not, as a legal matter, piracy...So can we drop the stupid piracy meme?...
Bibi Netanyahu makes a short statement:
This soldier describes what it was like coming down on the deck of the ship, including the use of live fire against them:
Here is chilling audio of the soldiers, their reaction to the attack, and their distress calls while taking live fire:
Richard Landes has posted some even higher definition video of the maelstrom the soldiers came into: High(er) Definition footage of the battle on the Mavi Marmara
[Update: Excellent video of British security expert analyzing the boarding video. Shows the Paintball Guns used by Israeli commandos:]
Here are some links concerning the Turkish Islamist group, the IHH, that seems to have been primarily responsible for the trouble, and with whom the other organizers collaborated:
At The Weekly Standard, Jonathan Schanzer writes about The Terror Finance Flotilla
...The Turkish IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi in Turkish) was founded in 1992, and reportedly popped up on the CIA's radar in 1996 for its radical Islamist leanings. Like many other Islamist charities, the IHH has a record of providing relief to areas where disaster has struck in the Muslim world.
However, the organization is not a force for good. The Turkish nonprofit belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic). Notably, the Union is chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. According to one report, Qardawi personally transferred millions of dollars to the Union in an effort to provide financial support to Hamas...
Just Journalism notes that the press hasn't shown much interest in the terror connections of the organizers: Press ignores controversial IHH profile
And here's that report from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center: A Danish research institute exposes the links the Turkish organization IHH had with Al-Qaeda and global jihad networks
Elder notes that even Turkey has taken action against the group:
Organizations such as IHH are quick to respond to natural disasters and other human catastrophes. Unfortunately, these groups often seek to use these situations to gain leverage with destitute Muslim refugees. In August 1999, when a devastating earthquake struck Turkey, IHH reached the affected zones, in some cases, even before the Turkish government. Friction quickly grew between authorities tasked with relief and independent Islamist "humanitarian" groups. Ultimately, Turkey was forced to ban the IHH from participating in earthquake aid efforts because it was counted among several "fundamentalist organizations" operating "secret bank accounts" that were refusing to allow local authorities to oversee the distribution of their aid resources
Evan Kohlmann, author of the original IHH report, brings things up to date: Shooting the Messenger: A Look at the Facts on the Turkish Aid Group IHH
...On December 5, 1997, Turkish police raided the IHH headquarters office in Istanbul and arrested its principal leaders. Following their preliminary inquiry, on April 27, 1998, Turkish investigators launched a formal legal case against the IHH. According to a report produced by French counterterrorism magistrates, the inquiry was spurred by the sale of an AK-47 assault rifle to an IHH leader by "a member of the illegal organization VASAT." Turkish police reported seizing a series of disturbing items from the IHH in Turkey, including an explosive device, two sticks of dynamite, bomb making instructions, and a "jihad flag." The French magistrates report noted that:
"It appears that the detained members of IHH were going to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya... The essential goal of this Association was to illegally arm its membership for overthrowing democratic, secular, and constitutional order present in Turkey and replacing it with an Islamic state founded on the Shariah. Under the cover of this organization known under the name of IHH, [IHH leaders] acted to recruit veteran soldiers in anticipation of the coming holy war. In particular, some men were sent into war zones in Muslim countries in order to acquire combat experience. On the spot, the formation of a military unit was assured. In addition, towards the purpose of obtaining political support from these countries, financial aid was transferred [from IHH], as well as caches of firearms, knives, and pre-fabricated explosives."...
NGO Monitor does their usual excellent work: NGO Involvement in the Gaza Boat Flotilla
Charities, NGOs, and other groups claiming human rights and humanitarian aid goals have been deeply involved in the demonization of Israel. The "Free Gaza Flotilla" highlights this façade of morality exploited for this political warfare...
YNet is reporting (h/t: IsraeliSoldier on Twitter): Navy Commander: The activists were given money to deal with fighters (sorry for Google translation)
During the special cabinet discussion revealed that Gen. Merom pockets of some of those killed in the incident were found thousands of dollars in cash. Evaluation: Some activists were mercenaries who were paid before boarding ships to confront Israeli soldiers
Also at YNet (another translation):
Now in English at YNet: Probe reveals flotilla lynchers have ties to Global Jihad
The ongoing interrogation of passengers who were aboard the Marmara - the Gaza aid flotilla's flagship - revealed that the majority of those who attacked the Israeli Naval Commandos boarding the ship have direct and indirect Global Jihad ties.
Israel's investigation has revealed some 100 people infiltrated the peace and humanitarian aid activists making their way to Gaza, with the explicit design to attack Israeli soldiers using cold arms...
Video at Legal Insurrection: Gaza Flotilla Organizer Puts Lie To "Humanitarian" Purpose
Adam Shapiro, one of the organizers of flotillas to break the sea blockade of Gaza in 2009 and again in 2010, was interviewed on PBS. In the interview, Shapiro made clear that the primary purpose of the flotilla was political.
Only upon prompting by Gwen Ifill did Shapiro even mention a supposed humanitarian purpose...
Not sure if I posted this one already, but Palestinian Media Watch notes: More documentation of flotilla planning violence against Israel
A day before the confrontation with Israel a university lecturer revealed on Hamas TV that the Gaza flotilla's commander had announced that the participants were planning to use "resistance," the Palestinian euphemism for violence, against "the Zionists." He added that the participants sought to die as Martyrs, even more than they wanted to reach Gaza...
Shmuley Boteach has another good one which comes to this conclusion:
...I don't want to wake up to news, as I did this morning, that Israel has once again been forced into a terrible choice between protecting its citizens and soldiers and stopping their assailants. But Jewish life is also valuable. And we should not expect twenty-year-old soldiers to stand by passively as mobs try and stab them to death.
Leslie Gelb writes at The Daily Beast: Israel Was Right
Israel had every right under international law to stop and board ships bound for the Gaza war zone late Sunday. Only knee-jerk left-wingers and the usual legion of poseurs around the world would dispute this. And it is pretty clear that this "humanitarian" flotilla headed for Gaza aimed to provoke a confrontation with Israel. Various representatives of the Free Gaza Movement, one of the main organizers of this deadly extravaganza, have let it slip throughout Monday that their intention was every bit as much "to break" Israel's blockade of Gaza as to deliver the relief goods.
The Israeli commandos who stormed the ship, where fighting erupted, badly mishandled the situation. But theirs was a mistake in pursuit of a legal goal, not a war crime. And as for calls for international investigations, they represent the usual hypocritical nonsense that will go nowhere...
Daniel Gordis addresses a wobbly-kneed American friend: Facebook Meets the Flotilla
Jonathan Kay writes at Canada's National Post: Jenin on the high seas
If Israel truly had wanted to "massacre" the Hamas sympathizers and fellow travellers aboard a six-ship Gaza-bound flotilla, the operation would not have been complicated. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would have used the trusty North Korean solution: Torpedo the ships and watch them sink to the bottom of the sea...
Andrew Bolt at the Daily Telegraph: Boatloads of bloody-minded pacifists
...ABC host Jon Faine, for instance, described these victims of Zionist aggression as "humanitarian activists with a few knives". Er, with knives? Humanitarians? And a strident report in The Age, Australia's most left-wing daily, conceded that video of the Israeli soldiers being lowered on to the ships from helicopters did shows some of the "hundreds of politicians and protesters" on board had offered "signs of resistance".
Here are some of those "signs of the resistance" that report failed to detail.
You see the Israelis, at first brandishing just paint-ball guns, being grabbed as they landed, dragged to the ground, and beaten brutally with pipes and clubs.
On another clip, apparently shot by protesters, a soldier is stabbed in the back, and then in the front. Another soldier is beaten and thrown over the side.
Photographs show two Israeli soldiers, one of them shot, being carried off with serious wounds. This isn't what you'd normally expect from "peace protesters" or "humanitarian activists", even those armed merely "with a few knives".
These clues suggest the media - and many foolish politicians - have fallen for a brilliant propaganda coup...
At Contentions, I like the way Noah Pollak thinks: The Problem with Playing Defense
...What would it look like if the Israeli government played offense? First and foremost, this would require some serious criticism of the Islamist government of Turkey, which masterfully created this crisis and is now denouncing Israel for it. Turkey's thuggish prime minister certainly understands the benefits of being on offense. He says that Israel committed a "massacre" and is guilty of "state terrorism," "piracy," has struck "a blow to world peace and against international law," threatens that "if Israel does not immediately free all the detainees and wounded, the rift in relations with it will widen," and thunders that "Israel will not be able to show itself in the world until it apologizes for what happened and undergoes self-criticism."
Quite a performance! Wouldn't it be remarkable if the Israelis had gotten ahead of the story by making their own accusations and demands? Here are a few ideas of the kind of concrete action the Israelis could take -- if they had the stones to really take a stand...
For you Palin haters out there: Palin Reacts to Flotilla Incident
The media, as usual, seems to be reporting only one side of the Israeli Flotilla incident. Don't trust the mainstream media to give you both sides of a story fairly... you must seek out fair reporting to ensure you have all the information.
As far too many in the media, and in various governments, rush to condemn Israel, we must put the recent events off Israel's coast into the right perspective. This "relief" convoy was not about humanitarian aid, as the liberal mainstream media keeps reporting. The whole operation was designed to provoke Israel, not to provide supplies to Palestinians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Anyone who sees the video of Israeli commandos being attacked as they land on that ship knows the people aboard were vicious thugs, not "peace activists." The media insults our intelligence with their outright mischaracterization of who these enemies are...
The Israel Project had an excellent conference call with Israeli spokesman Mark Regev: Mark Regev, Prime Minister of Israel's Spokesperson
Recent Events: Gaza Flotilla and Hopes for Peace
The Jewish Federations of North America has created a resource page, here: Gaza Flotilla Incident: Resource Page
At Hudson, Youssef M. Ibrahim writes Gaza Armada: The "Hate the Jews" Fest
Turkey is erupting as the hottest anti-Israeli belligerent state of the Middle East.
The US ally and NATO member that aspires to join the European Union now ranks as chief instigator, leader and organizer of the so-called Gaza aid flotilla of boats tackled overnight by Israeli commandos...
Update: Violence from flotilla supporters in Britain: Gaza aid ship protesters try to storm BBC Manchester
The IDF has already started transferring cargo from the ships into Gaza, as should have happened in the first place: 'Equipment not in shortage in Gaza'
..."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."...
Update: THIS is long overdue: Israeli Civil Rights Center Warns: Gaza Boat Organizers Have Violated the Neutrality Act
Update: ONE BRAVE PROTESTER. Daniel in the Lions' Den (h/t: Barry Rubin, from Israel Truth Times):