If rumors are confirmed that Islamist leader Raed Salah is among casualties of Israel's raid on a Gaza aid convoy, the countries Arab population could explode.
1. Measuring the damage – The exact casualty toll during Israel's interception of the aid convoy bound for Gaza is still unclear. Israel has yet to release official and detailed reports but it is known that several IDF commandos were wounded. Unofficial reports from outside Israel put the death toll at between 14 and 20, with dozens hurt. The nationalities of the casualties are not known. There is a strong possibility that Arab-Israel leaders, including Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch. Is among them.
The damage that Israel has caused itself internationally can hardly be exaggerated. A previous crisis with Turkey that broke out earlier this year after Israel humiliated Ankara's ambassador now looks like small change in comparison.
Relations with Turkey had deteriorated even before then after Israel Operation Cast Lead in Gaza and the generally anti-Israeli stance taken by Turkey moderately Islamist government. The new crisis is likely to lead to a total break in ties.
The response from the European Union, whose citizens made up a large portion of the passenger list, is likely to be little better. Israel will present its case, show footage to prove that activists attacked its commandos with bars and knives – but that will have little effect on the end result. The world will judge the incident as an excessive use of force with no clear justification.
Monday's incident will also have consequences for the government's relationship with the Palestinians and with the country's own Arab minority. Hamas will try to fan the flames to divert the debate away from the trap into which it has led the citizens of the besieged Gaza Strip. It is not unlikely that there will be an escalation on Israel's Gaza border, as well as violent protest in the West Bank.
But the central story here will be Israel's Arabs. If Salah is indeed among the casualties, the result could be a wave of riots led by Islamic Movement activists. Targeted provocations by Islamists and left-wing activists have now taken on a strategic significance. Under certain circumstances, and if both sides fail to take steps to clam the situation, this could even end in a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
2. The commandos are not blame – There is no reason to level accusations at the troops themselves. A severely outnumbered commando being lowered at the end of a rope onto the deck of a ship from a helicopter, who finds himself attack with knives, has no option but to defend himself from what could be a lynch mob. If, Despite all the briefings prior to the operation on the use of proportionate force, it is a fair indication that he had no other course of action.
But this shouldn't eclipse the point that the operation as a whole was a complete failure. It failed to meet it declared goals – taking control of the convoy while minimizing the international fallout. There are a few elements that will need investigation: Preparations for the operation (it seems the IDF had not anticipated the level of resistance it encountered – would it not perhaps have been preferable to go in with a larger force, rather than relying on small teams drop from helicopters?); an the use of intelligence (what did the army know in advance about weapons – clubs, knives or guns – held by the activists? What was the level of visual coverage of the ship during the operation?)
In the next few days we will hear Israeli spokespeople bend over backwards to convince us that there was no other option, and that the other side was to blame. Anyone who attacks a soldier with a knife can hardly be surprised to meet with a violent response – but Israel needs to examine its actions. Don't fool yourselves," said one experienced army man ton Monday morning. When the spin dies down, will have to take a deep look at the way the IDF operates. You can be sure that this sort of incident will be handle very differently in the future.
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On 05 31, 10, at 12:50 PM, Qiqo Simbol wrote:Israeli commandos attack Gaza aid flotilla - 2 dead, 50 wounded
LlBERATION -- May 30, 2010 — At about 4:30 am, Israeli commandos dropped from Apache helicopters onto the deck of the Turkish ship and immediately opened fire on unarmed civilians.
It appears that all ships have now been boarded. Reports indicate that Israeli commandos boarded the Gaza aid flotilla in International waters - a violation of International law.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qJaM3oEElQ
On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 11:12 AM, Amabella Carumba <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I got this from one of our friends that are also currently monitoring the Flotilla:
******* BREAKING NEWS ********
ATTACKS HAVE STARTED. UNCONFIRMED REPORTS OF 3 DEAD, AND 30 INJURED
I hope to heavens that this is not true.But if it is, Israel would have more blood of innocent civilians on its hand. We should highly condemn this act by the Israeli govt.Let us organize ourselves against this atrocity.Let us flood the Israeli embassy with our protests and condemnation of this barbaric act committed by Israel against unarmed civilians who only wish to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Amabella L. Carumba
Mindanao Peoples' Peace Movement (MPPM)
Sarip Auliya St., Block 3, Bagua 2
9600, Cotabato City, Mindanao, Philippines
telefax: +63 64 421-1358
--- On Mon, 5/31/10, Corazon Valdez Fabros <email@example.com> wrote:
From: Corazon Valdez Fabros <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [stopthewar.philippines] Urgent Call from the Freedom Flotilla
Date: Monday, May 31, 2010, 11:35 AM
(Cyprus, May 31, 2010) At 11:00 pm Cyprus time and in international waters off the coast of Israel, the boats were contacted by the Israeli navy. “Who are you and where are you going?” Our reply was that we were part of a flotilla and we were going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies.
On the radar, the boats could see three Israeli war ships shadowing us, and 15 minutes later, a silent aircraft hovered over the flotilla. One of our Hebrew speakers had found Israel’s strategy and posted it to us. It stated, “You will be boarded by highly trained, very efficient and very SILENT commandos. They will use silent inflatable boats to get to our boats and both try to board our boats directly from the inflatables and by dropping divers into the water to climb onto the boats,” so people were preparing for them to come up and over the sides of the ships.
Our SPOT locator has sent out several HELP messages at www.witnessgaza.com.
Lubna Marsawa, Free Gaza’s organizer on the Turkish passenger boat said in outrage, “Very few times in history has a flotilla delivering humanitarian goods been welcomed by military war ships.”
This is a call to the world from the people on the boats. “We are a civilian people doing what our governments have refused to do, challenge Israel’s right to collectively punish 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza by blockading their right to their own sea. This flotilla is bringing construction and educational supplies the people of Gaza and are being met by Israeli warships.”
Contact: Huwaida Arraf on board the Challenger 0088 216 5207 2093
Ewa Jasciewica on board the Challenger 0088 163 184 7926
Fatima Mohammed on board the IHH ship 8821636619168
Greta Berlin 00 357 99 18 72 75
Mary Hughes 00 357 96 38 38 09
Check out this site, find the Israeli embassy nearest you and let them know how you feel.
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75