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Why now? June 1, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Israel, Uncategorized.
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Let’s essentially ignore some of our recent visitors whose inability to distinguish the almost exclusively moderate tone that the commentors on this site take to the Israel Palestine issue, i.e. one which recognises rights on both sides of that equation, while in passing note that these keyboard warriors in Israel’s defense moved rapidly from obnoxious insults about commentors and contributors to outright racism.

I’ve been to Israel. I have considerable respect for ordinary Israelis and I’m a strong believer in a two state solution. I don’t have anything to apologise for in regards of that, and particularly not to people who if I were an Israeli I’d have profound concerns as to why they were lining up to support me. And I wouldn’t for a second, despite all that, hesitate in pointing out that time and again Israeli government policy across a raft of social political and economic areas, in relation to Palestine and Palestinians has been willfully, pointlessly, needlessly and stupidly counterproductive. Time and again. And continues to be. To the point that that one wonders do they recognise the dangers of the isolationism that surely beckons further down the line.

On the broader issue, it is heartening to see that the general consensus appears to be that these were indeed reprehensible and irresponsible actions that are straining even the most ardent champions of the Israeli government (and let’s always keep in mind that these are initiated by government) to explain, let alone defend.

But the question remains, why now? What on earth was it thought that they could achieve? How was it considered they would play in the court, not merely of global opinion, but also and as importantly as regards the strategic interests of Israel as regards Turkey, as regards their ‘partners’ in the EU and so on.

I wrote a comment yesterday which EWI was good to respond to, but I think it still stands as a summation of the above question…

It’s difficult in light of what seem most aptly described as outright murder to do this, but coming back to the incident itself, something that strikes me very strongly is just how unhinged this was, and how seemingly indifferent to Turkish political and public opinion the Israeli govt. appears to have been and continues to be (another striking thing is how cloth-eared many of those on those sites linked to above seem to be as regards how Turkey has been traditionally a staunch ally of Israel even in the very recent past). And of course global public opinion.

What on earth is the political calculation behind such actions? I see the PM was in Canada.

It seems almost as if the Israeli state tilted into a sort of political instability. I mean, such actions are far from unheard of within their territorial boundaries, but this… this seems like a completely different scale/response to what we’ve seen before. And completely counterproductive.

And I think alastair has it right, they’ve been completely swamped on in terms of trying to ‘present’ this, perhaps another reason why there’s such a froth on the internet amongst their supposed supporters.

One small other thought. Given that the Social Welfare Bill was squirreled away on Friday so that the response from TDs, in particular, would be muted (I have that straight from the horses mouth so to speak), the news that an extra €2bn is being given over to the seemingly endless maw of Anglo Irish Bank indicates that we may well have seen a ‘good’ days to bury bad news

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Comments»

1. EamonnCork - June 1, 2010

A few thoughts on the incident.
1. There shouldn’t have been the need for a flotilla in the first place. Even Israel’s allies have asked it to stop the illegal blockade of Gaza.
2. Occupying a ship which is in international waters is piracy. There’s no justification at all for it.
3. I would presume that the occupants of a ship which is attacked by pirates are entitled to defend themselves.
4. The IDF has lied before and their self-defence claim holds very little water. All they can do is produce a box of ball bearings and a couple of pistols to justify killing more than a dozen people. The casualty figures speak volumes about the one sided nature of what went on. Above all, if the commandoes hadn’t been on the boat no-one could have attacked them. The use of commandoes rather than police or customs officials indicates what the intention was.
5. This action will be defended in the lunatic fashion which we saw on this site yesterday precisely because there’s no rational justification. So they’ll have to fall back on the usual name calling and non sequiturs.
6. In addition to piracy, the Israelis are also guilty of kidnapping. We should all be concerned that a foreign state feels entitled to take Irish people from international waters and hold them prisoner.
7. As far for Israel being held to a higher standard of accountability than other states, imagine the reaction if Somali warlords had slaughtered people travelling with an aid convoy. You wouldn’t be able to move for articles about ‘African savagery.’
8. In order to believe the Israeli government line, you have to believe that the likes of Fintan Lane and Chris Andrews are Islamists who set out to provoke the Israeli government. And also that the critics of what happened, including that unlikely leftie Nicholas Sarkozy, are all anti-semites.
9. I used to be very pro-Israel. I used to point out to people that what happened in 1948 had to be seen in its historical context and that for every Palestinian who had a map of an old olive grove, there was an Israeli whose family had a map of a Shtetl somewhere in Galicia. But it’s impossible to defend Israel anymore, especially because its defenders seem to accept nothing less than blanket approval of even its most appalling actions.
10. Turkey has actually made an effort to build bridges with Israel, despite opposition from other majority Islamic states. Its reward is to see its citizens shot down in cold blood with the implication that the crime matters less because it wasn’t Westerners who were being killed.
11. We should have taken some action when it emerged that Israel used Irish passports in a clandestine manner. But Michael Martin has at least been forthright on this occasion.
12. There is no excuse for the flotilla massacre. Pointing this out doesn’t make you an anti-semite any more than highlighting human rights abuses in Tibet or East Timor makes you anti-Chinese or anti-Indonesian. What has happened is that Israel has now decided that it won’t accept even expressions of solidarity with the Palestinians as legal. What next, bombs at Palestinian solidarity marches in Western capitals? And if that sounds slightly paranoid, think how we’d have scoffed if Aonghus O Snodaigh suggested that there was a possibility that members of the aid convoy would be slaughtered by Israeli commandoes this week. Steady on, we’d have said, there’s no need to exaggerate.
13. I have no intention of answering posts from single issue trolls who don’t even do us the courtesy of attempting a rational argument.

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2. alastair - June 1, 2010

The pistols found were IDF pistols, taken from the first couple of commandos dropping down from helicopters. The incompetency of the Israeli operation from start to finish is the essential reason that people are dead. The deputy Israeli ambassador on Frontline last night demonstrates the bonkers misinformation that Israel has been forced to fall back on – calling kitchen knives, catapults, and (god help us) angle-grinder disks, ‘sophisticated weapons’.

What I don’t get is that Israel would have had legal cover if they had let the ships enter Gaza’s territorial waters. The blockade might well be illegal, but there’s an interim agreement in place that concedes Israeli military control to those waters for the duration. There was scope for saving some face in dealing with the PR offensive of the flotilla.

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LeftAtTheCross - June 1, 2010

Yep, I was watching the Frontline show on RTE last night. The body language of the deputy Israeli ambassador was saying “I can’t argue against what my country is being accused of here”. I’ve never seen a spokesperson for anything looking so defeated. Ok, she still voiced the line that was expected of her, but she knew she was losing with every word she uttered.

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3. John O'Farrell - June 1, 2010

Why now? They don’t care. I don’t think that we westerners realise just how dramatically the centre of politics has shifted in the pase decade. Read this article (and the various responses/denounciations of it) in the current NYRB is revalatory , especially as it is written by a regular at the New Republic, a liberal US weekly which is fiercely pro-Israel.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/

“Since the 1990s, journalists and scholars have been describing a bifurcation in Israeli society. In the words of Hebrew University political scientist Yaron Ezrahi, “After decades of what came to be called a national consensus, the Zionist narrative of liberation [has] dissolved into openly contesting versions.” One version, “founded on a long memory of persecution, genocide, and a bitter struggle for survival, is pessimistic, distrustful of non-Jews, and believing only in Jewish power and solidarity.” Another, “nourished by secularized versions of messianism as well as the Enlightenment idea of progress,” articulates “a deep sense of the limits of military force, and a commitment to liberal-democratic values.” Every country manifests some kind of ideological divide. But in contemporary Israel, the gulf is among the widest on earth..

.. “Israeli governments come and go, but the Netanyahu coalition is the product of frightening, long-term trends in Israeli society: an ultra-Orthodox population that is increasing dramatically, a settler movement that is growing more radical and more entrenched in the Israeli bureaucracy and army, and a Russian immigrant community that is particularly prone to anti-Arab racism. In 2009, a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis (and 77 percent of recent immigrants from the former USSR) support encouraging Arabs to leave the country. Attitudes are worst among Israel’s young. When Israeli high schools held mock elections last year, Lieberman won. This March, a poll found that 56 percent of Jewish Israeli high school students—and more than 80 percent of religious Jewish high school students—would deny Israeli Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset. An education ministry official called the survey “a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth.” ..

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yourcousin - June 1, 2010

I think John is articulating something that would be close to my position. You saw something similar when Obama and Netanyahu had their spat. The conflict between internal politics in Israel and international relationships has developed into a zero sum game. Unfortunately after decades of fighting the center of Israeli politics is giving way to more extreme polarization. While this polarization makes my preferred one state solution impossible at this point, it also makes the two state solution increasingly improbable as well. I see the settlers like a the tea party on steroids. Militant, xenohobic, and far more likely to shout down opposition than sit down to a normal conversation. Netanyahu has made his bed with them as that is the only way he can stay in power and has time and time again bet on being able to mend international fences rather than build bridges at home. That is the scary part.

It is also a warning to folks who advocate a “security first, politics second” kind of approach to problems throughout the world. Be it in Afghanisan, NI, even and in especially immigration debates. Every policy has its limits and using force in place of dimplomacy is fraught with danger at the best of times. I would hope that Israel would take a long look at what is happening and reconsider it’s current course of action. Though I won’t be holding my breath.

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yourcousin - June 1, 2010

pardon the typos, typing before coffee…

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Pope Epopt - June 1, 2010

Thanks for the link John. A very illuminating article.

Your growing despair with Israeli intransigence is, I think, a common one among those who can’t see a humane alternative to Israel’s continuing existence.

Question: Do you support a policy of disengagement and boycott against Israel? Would you support the suspensions of the EU-Israel Association Agreement? Would these sanctions have the desired effect of bringing the Israeli government into genuine negotiation, in your opinion?

It’s frightening, but I don’t think we are far away from tactical nuclear attacks against Iran being seen as ‘necessary and normal’ in the Israeli majority and in Washington.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

It’s frightening, but I don’t think we are far away from tactical nuclear attacks against Iran being seen as ‘necessary and normal’ in the Israeli majority and in Washington.

I think we’re far away from that scenario in Washington, but if Israel believes that Washington no longer has its back then all bets are off. Whether we think it is or not is irrelevant. Israel believes its existence is at stake.

Given that, I think it was pretty irresponsible for any European state to have facilitated the flotilla. I suspect that Israel figured that Turkey’s actions meant it was no longer the “staunch ally” it used to be.

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

I wonder does Israel really believe that though? It’s hard to see this as a more existential moment than say 1973 or 1967. If anything the opposite, just a long slog through unrewarding years where little or nothing changes. From the Israeli govt. perspective the Palestinians are neatly divided into two camps. The US and EU are still onside, most recently in the agreements with the latter only in the last month. World opinion is largely irrelevant and it has not one serious regional adversary, and what it does have are US forces now a hop skip and a jump away in Iraq. I’d have thought that they’re better positioned for that slog than even five or ten years ago.

Which makes the actions of the last twenty four hours seem more borne of confidence than otherwise. Or am I missing something here…

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Mack - June 1, 2010

“World opinion is largely irrelevant and it has not one serious regional adversary”

Turkey seem to be beginning to step into that role. The foltilla could concievably be viewed as a Turkish proxy and was direct challenge to Israel’s embargo – arguably a succesfull one (both in PR terms and with Egypt opening up a border crossing).

I would be more inclined to see incompetence than conspiracy in the Israeli attack.

Turkey are making themselves a focal point and appear to be willing to throw their weight around this issue. They have a large population and a sound and growing economy. Stratfor project they will become the dominant regional power in the Levant / Med over the next decade.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

That’s how I read the link from John O’Farrell and many other things from Israel. They seem like a people devoid of hope. They seem jaded.

At least in 1967 or ’73 they had the advantage of knowing and understanding the battlefield and the enemy. I don’t live there, but it seems to me that they’d be much better off relaxing a lot. I think they’d have been better off letting this flotilla through. They should have taken Turkey’s and other European nations’ assurances that the flotilla had nothing but aid on board.

In fact, I think Israel should invite the EU to patrol the waters & borders and guarantee Israel’s safety from attacks from Gaza. I have no doubt that the EU would reject the invitation, but at least it would change the conversation – Israel would be better able to defend itself in the propaganda war, which it’s losing in Europe.

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EWI - June 1, 2010

They seem like a people devoid of hope. They seem jaded.

They seem pretty fired up about colonising the Occupied Territories, for people ‘devoid of hope’ and ‘jaded’.

In fact, I think Israel should invite the EU to patrol the waters & borders and guarantee Israel’s safety from attacks from Gaza.

Yeah, because that went so well in Lebanon after all.

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ec - June 2, 2010

“From the Israeli govt. perspective the Palestinians are neatly divided into two camps”.

You left out the word ‘concentration’.

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4. sonofstan - June 1, 2010

I see the settlers like a the tea party on steroids. Militant, xenohobic, and far more likely to shout down opposition than sit down to a normal conversation.

It might be wise here in Europe not to assume that the phenomenon is necessarily limited to fundies – Xian or Jewish – either. Seeing the torrent of shit here and elsewhere yesterday made me reflect on a few of the side effects of the web revolution: the ability of the average half-wit to see him (nearly always ‘him’) self as an intellectual once he masters the details of a conspiracy theory that ‘explains everything’ , and the inability of said half-wit to listen to anything that might give a person pause in a normal face to face conversation.

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que - June 1, 2010

thats dangerously true. Its like religion aint it. I know you are going to hell but I can save you. You dont know you are going to hell and thats why you dont want to be saved. But if I persevere hard enough you’ll thank me eventually. The fervour of the enlightened is scary. Maybe the web and its ability to provide such a span of info provides ikea wisdom at a low price

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yourcousin - June 1, 2010

I would agree with much of that. Though as we all know it can be quite easy to be an asshole online when in person we all are (hopefully) far more polite.

My likening of the settlers movement and their parties to the Tea Party movement is that that kind of behavior has moved from online to real life and is seen as legitimate discourse as it has brought both strands to varying degrees of prominence within their respective political circles. Now please don’t get me wrong I’m not saying they’re one and the same, but they do share some similar traits, that’s all. And I mention both of them, not only because they shout down opposition, but also because it seems at least to me that they recognize that they do it and use it as a tool.

Or to put it another way. Those people who we saw here yesterday don’t know any better, they’re idiots (if I may be so smug). Those who they support do know better and are not mindless drones but intelligent, clever, people who make the decision to shout down political opposition when they could argue their corner properly.

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que - June 1, 2010

on the often tiresome [if i too myabe a bit smug :) ] Politics.ie a thread on this topic invariably attracts two otherwise rare posters. They are remarkably adept. Their function seems to be
(a) marshalling forces on threads by providing facts selectively and other moral arguments,
(b) to effectively defend their position as tenously and carefully as possible, and

(c) to generate so much heat that invariably the more rabid and ill-disciplined of their opponents comes out with somethings thats frankly F**king idiotic and helps sabotage the whole anti position.

Then sometimes they choose the bucket of water approach like yesterday.

Ultimately thoough there are generals, useful idiots and some small time followers skilled enough to complement the strategy. Its militancy on the web and very impressive if annoying.

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

What’s interesting is that it happens so rarely. It’s like you say que and yourcousin. There’s all these people out there who’re just waiting to be marshalled towards any voice that dissents from their line.

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5. Avi Cohen - June 1, 2010

In 1947 the Royal Navy rammed a ship carrying Jewish refugees to Palestine: when sailors tried to board the vessel the refugees pelted them with cans of food and fruit- the sailors opened fire and killed three people. The British claimed they had been fired on. Sound familiar?

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/echoes-of-raid-on-exodus-ship-in-1947/

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6. HAL - June 1, 2010

Egypt have just announced they will open their borders.Maybe the RC will go there.

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Pope Epopt - June 1, 2010

The tactics seem to be to hold off (somewhere in non-Israeli territorial waters, I hope, since international waters and the Law of the Sea aren’t recognised by Israel) until early next week. Things will have moved on a good bit by then.

The opening of the Egyptian border can be seen as a vindication of the action. It remains to be seen how the Israelis will react to that.

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alastair - June 1, 2010

International waters are certainly recognised by Israel. They’re a signatory to the Convention on the High Seas (which makes clear their action was contrary to international law).

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Pope Epopt - June 1, 2010

I meant recognised in practice, rather than by Treaty signature.

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7. HAL - June 1, 2010
8. Eagle - June 1, 2010

I don’t know what to think. The Israelis never cease to undermine my support for them. I feel sorry for them. The dream is over. I think John O’Farrell’s link above articulates how a society that’s too long at war and too long living in fear becomes warped.

Hard to believe, but the nation founded out of the darkest chapter in world history was more optimistic at a time when the Nazi ovens were still warm than it is today. They behave like an isolated farmer afraid of every passing car. Danger lurks everywhere.

I presume like me everyone else coming here saw this coming? From the moment I read that the flotilla folks were going through the blockade – http://bit.ly/bgpbfA – I knew this was going to end badly. I knew the Israelis meant it when they said, “No you’re not,” – http://bit.ly/bgpbfA – it was going to end badly.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

Not that it really matters, but this should have been the second link. http://bit.ly/d569NT

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

Ta for the links. It’s what you say, afraid of every passing farmer. I think the point alastair makes is very true, why didn’t they wait until the flotilla entered waters? Although, perhaps they feel that that might simply underscore that they are disputed.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

To me the whole international waters thing is irrelevant. The flotilla people had made it plain they were going through the blockade and the Israelis had said they weren’t.

Where is the border in the water anyway? I really don’t know, but I saw on Al Jazeera that the flotilla was about 65km (40 miles) off the coast. That sounds pretty close to me.

Was there any doubt that the Israelis meant to enforce the blockade? Was there any doubt that the flotilla meant to get through? They hadn’t wandered too close to Israel, affording the latter an opportune strike. They were heading in, so where the confrontation took place seems a minor detail.

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alastair - June 1, 2010

Gaza’s territorial waters extend 20 nautical miles out.

The difference is in acting within the law, or criminally. That’s a pretty important distinction for a state – particularly one that’s already a repeat offender in many’s eyes.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

alastair

I understand the legality, but at the same time the flotilla made known it was going through the blockade anyway. Do you believe they might have changed course as they approached that 20 mile limit (thanks for that)? I don’t, but if there was that chance then the legal limit makes a big difference.

If I thought the Israelis went out to 40 miles in order to prevent a change of heart by the flotilla that would change my thinking completely. If, however, they thought it might be more peaceful further out (a misconception, if held), then it worries me far less.

I would like to believe they naively went to out 40 miles in a bid to surprise the flotilla and defuse the situation before it grew more tense. I’m waiting for details on that one, however.

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alastair - June 1, 2010

I’d guess that they just opted to act at the time of day best suited to military action – before dawn. They knew that they would have to divert the ships at some point and let the IDF make the decisions (If Haaretz is to be belived, there was precious little political control of events). Maybe they didn’t want anything happening under the sun’s glare, but mainly this just looks like short-term military strategy getting in the way of resolving an essentially political problem (once again).

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

alistair,

That actually sounds right. I suspect that they didn’t expect anything serious to happen.

I know there’s a lot of press – like the Daily Kos link below – about how great the Israeli defense forces are, but there has been plenty of evidence that this is not really so. I often think they’re not all that well led or trained.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

Actually, alistair, now that I consider you an international maritime law expert I’d like to ask a question.

I’m pretty sure a blockade is an act of war, but doesn’t that mean running a blockade is also an act of war?

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alastair - June 1, 2010

There’s no state of war between Israel and Gaza. Israel considers Gaza to be ‘hostile territory’ so all the legal argument over the status of the blockade is framed by that ambiguity. The flotilla couldn’t be engaged in an act of war in breaking the blockade, if the blockade easn’t an act of war in the first place.

The point is academic anyway, as Israel does have power of legal treaties to decide who can enter Gaza’s territorial waters, blockade or not. They could stop the blockade and still decide to divert any ships inside their (and Gaza’s) territory.

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EWI - June 1, 2010

I would like to believe they naively went to out 40 miles in a bid to surprise the flotilla and defuse the situation before it grew more tense. I’m waiting for details on that one, however.

Are you really trying, with a straight face, to tell people that professional naval officers don’t know the Law of the Sea and how far out until international waters?

C’mon, here. Be serious.

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Eagle - June 2, 2010

No, sorry EWI, didn’t mean to sow confusion there. I didn’t mean they naively went too far, but that they were naive in their hope that by surprising the flotilla the risk of violence might have been lessened.

I really believe this is a massive foul-up borne of paranoia and a misreading of the situation.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

I really believe this is a massive foul-up borne of paranoia and a misreading of the situation.

Sorry – I’ve no time for the ‘all a tragic misunderstanding’ defence. Their troops conducted their raid according to a plan which clearly required government approval (given the diplomatic and legal considerations), and went in armed with loaded weapons and clearly under authority to use them. The civilians on the boats aren’t the ones who’ve done wrong here.

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Eagle - June 3, 2010

EWI

Do you believe the Israeli plan called for sending a few under-armed (paintball guns, tasers) men onto the ship so that they could be beaten and/or thrown off the ship so that the rest of the soldiers could then use their guns to kill 9 people of the 600 on the ship in the hope of touching off an international firestorm?

Clearly this was a foul-up.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

Do you believe the Israeli plan called for sending a few under-armed (paintball guns, tasers) men onto the ship so that they could be beaten and/or thrown off the ship so that the rest of the soldiers could then use their guns to kill 9 people of the 600 on the ship in the hope of touching off an international firestorm?

We have dead unarmed civilians who were shot, and very much alive commandos who did the actual shooting. The facts plainly speak for themselves, unless you believe that paintball guns and tasers can rack up such a kill-rate?

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9. Eagle - June 1, 2010

By the way, the Israeli Navy says next time they’ll use more force! http://bit.ly/9W2RdJ And I believe the Rachel Corrie people say they’re going through. http://bit.ly/deEVvD

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EamonnCork - June 1, 2010

I preferred the more openly pro IDF trolls. They at least had the viture of honesty. There’s nothing Israel could do you wouldn’t find an apology for, is there? The fact that it took place in international waters is hardly irrelevant. And it’s not justifiable for Israel to carry out an act of piracy on the basis that the flotilla eventually intended to push on to Gaza. In that case Israel would have been entitled to attack it in Cyprus. Though had they done so no doubt you’d be finding an excuse for that as well just as you’ve explained that it serves the Turks right because they ‘facilitated’ the flotilla and that Israel gets a free pass because, that old chestnut, it feels its existence is in danger. I’d imagine you think you’re being subtle with this stuff. And apologies to WBS if he feels my tone is inappropriate but this kind of stealth propaganda gets my goat, perhaps because of the presumption that we’re not clever enough to see it for what it is. You get the same kind of thing when the BNP comes up and some lad reasonably observes that the left should be taking on board BNP immigration policy.

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Pope Epopt - June 1, 2010

Agreed on the new breed of trolling popping up here. The only tribe to compare with the “Israel right or wrong” brigade are the climate change deniers. I always wondered how many of them get paid and what the command structure is.

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

I don’t think though that Eagle is an apologist for the Israeli’s and he’s certainly not aa troll although his political stance would be well to the right of the CLR… Doesn’t mean I agree with him on the territorial waters issue (or many other issues). I don’t. But I consider that he’s coming from an honest place.

And I’m 100% sure he’s no supporter of the BNP. :)

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Pope Epopt - June 1, 2010

And I wonder what the pay-scales are like.

Gissa job. I can do that.

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Pope Epopt - June 1, 2010

Apologies to Eagle if she is not 50% quartzite.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

EamonnCork,

I generally think of myself more of an ogre than a troll.

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EamonnCork - June 2, 2010

My apologies to Eagle, an unfortunate coincidence of pseudonymns led me to unfairly impugn your integrity. Sorry.

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Eagle - June 2, 2010

EamonnCork,

Don’t worry about it. Us ogres have very thick hides!

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

Just so everyone is clear, Eagle isn’t FishEagle. Very different individuals indeed.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

Yes

FishEagle stinks. I soar.

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

:)

Tis true…

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FishEagle - June 1, 2010

I have no doubt that I made quite an impression. Go figure.

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Eagle - June 2, 2010

I have no doubt that I made quite an impression.

Generally speaking inter-speciel cross-breeds do.

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Seán Báite - June 2, 2010

Dunno – have a general mistrust of eagles since Squire Haughey was involved with them (is a ‘FishEagle’ a synonym for a ‘Sea Eagle’ – the ones the squire had re-introduced down in Kerry?).

EamonnCork – And it’s not justifiable for Israel to carry out an act of piracy on the basis that the flotilla eventually intended to push on to Gaza. In that case Israel would have been entitled to attack it in Cyprus.
Not that they care much about what’s justifiable or not – but I heard on French radio that they’ve already attacked a ship in Cyprus. Sometime in the late 80s a ship that was going to participate in a ‘Right to Return’ protest bringing Arrafat into Israeli territorial waters. They did a ‘Rainbow Warrior’ on the ship in Cyprus before it was due to sail.

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Bartholomew - June 2, 2010

Fish Eagle is a South African make of brandy that sponsors an annual Israeli film festival.

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

It’s also an actual bird ….

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Eagle - June 3, 2010

Bartholomew & Tim Johnston,

Thanks for that. Didn’t realize Fish Eagle was anything real at all. I figured it was a mythological creature or some such.

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10. shane - June 1, 2010

The Israeli navy is no match for the Turkish navy, who have guaranteed the peace of the next flotillas

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/31/871733/-Israel-biting-off-more-than-it-can-chew

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

Such a confrontation doesn’t bear thinking about.

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Dr. X - June 1, 2010

A Turkey-based person on the urban75 thread has posted that this has already been denied by the Turkish government. But it was just on the Radio 1 news that Turkey’s demanding an emergency meeting of NATO.

That can’t be a good sign.

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Eagle - June 1, 2010

Dr. X

That’s good. An emergency meeting of NATO sounds like the Turks are going to put pressure on America to resolve this rather than take it into their hands.

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ejh - June 1, 2010

Blimey, Urban75 is a source of hot news.

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11. DublinDilettante - June 1, 2010

Cowen has warned of “serious consequences” if harm comes to any Irish captive. Which is easy to do once you’ve established that none have been harmed. As appealing as the idea of the government sending snatch squads into Israel to apprehend the Mossad passport-pilferers and flotilla butchers, it’s a little bit beyond their capability.

We don’t want to fight, but by Biffo if we do…

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Tim Johnston - June 1, 2010

what does he have in mind do you think??

I have a serious problem with my government uttering such harsh words in support of a few private citizens on an insane mission. Are we going to launch “serious consequences” against any country where some unfortunate Pad gets himself into trouble?

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DublinDilettante - June 1, 2010

Whether you’re trolling or not, you’re just tiresome.

Do you remember the reaction in this state, when the security forces of another state fired on unarmed citizens of another state within the sovereign territory of that state? As opposed to international waters, like.

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Tim Johnston - June 1, 2010

Tiresome, maybe, but I have a sore head now after reading that sentence.
Are you talking about Northern Ireland?
I don’t think Biffo has a paramilitary war in mind for Israel. I was asking you what you thought he did mean. Divestment?

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

Got to say, that I tend in the main to DD’s thoughts. I think the blockade is wrong, and I’m not alone, the UN does as well. Even the US thinks it should be ‘eased’.

I could list the actions that the Israeli govt takes which I think are counterproductive, but surely that at the moment has to be one of the most obvious. And to what effect?

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EWI - June 1, 2010

We don’t want to fight, but by Biffo if we do…

As a nation, Ireland is entitled to defend its flagged vessels from attack in international waters. Now, an Irish fisheries protection boat (f’r instance) may not be able to offer much resistance, but the response to such an act of war would come from the EU of which we are part…

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Eagle - June 2, 2010

Were any of the ships flying an Irish flag? The Independent said that the Rachel Corrie was delayed leaving Dundalk because it had an Irish flag painted on it, but the ship is actually registered in Cambodia. http://bit.ly/bIofQf

I think I heard last night that the ship on which all the violence occurred was registered in the Comoros Islands.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

You’re absolutely right – the ship was registered in 2005 to Cambodia. It certainly has an interesting history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Rachel_Corrie

If I were someone concerned with getting aid safely into Gaza, I’d be getting it re-registered under an Irish (or at least another EU) flag, post-haste.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

Well, here’s what I’ve found with a modicum of Googling:

Who is entitled to register an Irish Ship?
The following are entitled to be registered as owner or part owner of a ship:

the Government;
a Minister of the Government;
a national of a Member State of the European Union;
a body corporate* established under and subject to the law of a Member State of the European Union and having its principal place of business in a Member State of the Union;

Am I entitled to fly the Irish Flag on my Yacht?
The Act says:
The following ships shall be known as Irish ships and shall, subject to subsection (3) of section 18 of this Act, be entitled to wear the proper national colours and assume national character-

State-owned ships;
ships which are wholly owned by persons being citizens of Ireland (hereinafter referred to as Irish citizens) or Irish bodies corporate and are not registered under the law of another country;
other ships registered or deemed to be registered under this Act

I want to register my yacht – how do I go about it?
A ship can be registered at any port which has been nominated as a port of registry under Section 32 of the Principal Act. There are currently 13 ports of registry viz.: Arklow, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Skibbereen, Sligo, Tralee, Waterford, Westport and Wexford. You need to make contact with the Registrar at your chosen port. Enquiries may be made at your nearest Custom House, please see local telephone directory or at your local Customs & Excise Office, details are available from telephone directories. The Registrar of the port of Westport is located at Castlebar, the Registrar of the port of Skibbereen is located at Bantry and the Registrar of the port of Arklow is located at Dublin. Registrars of Ships are those Officers of Customs & Excise who have been allocated responsibility for the administration of registry procedure. In accordance with Section 23 of the Principal Act, the Collector or Chief Officer of Customs and Excise at any of the designated ports of registry is a Registrar of Ships.

What are the requirements for Registry
Before a ship can be registered, the owner/agent must arrange to have it surveyed and measured by a Surveyor of Ships to ascertain its tonnage and build and such other particulars as may be required. The owner will also be asked for documents establishing ownership such as a Builders Certificate and a Bill of Sale.

http://www.sailing.ie/inside/default.asp?pageId=12

Seems to be achievable, with some co-operation at Dundalk. Perhaps someone should get on it?

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Eagle - June 3, 2010

Interesting. Yes, as you say, it doesn’t seem too onerous to register the ship as Irish, so why use the Cambodian flag?

I had thought it possible that an Irish ship might have to obey certain regulations and laws that deal with wars, etc. I thought maybe they didn’t want to be hamstrung by any possible violations of Ireland’s neutrality.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

Interesting. Yes, as you say, it doesn’t seem too onerous to register the ship as Irish, so why use the Cambodian flag?

Unless someone with the knowledge to answer that one appears here, I’m going to assume that they couldn’t afford it.

I had thought it possible that an Irish ship might have to obey certain regulations and laws that deal with wars, etc. I thought maybe they didn’t want to be hamstrung by any possible violations of Ireland’s neutrality.

So, which state is Israel at formally declared war with, that Irish neutrality would be threatened?

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12. BH - June 1, 2010

We could throw the ambassador out for a start: cancel the order for the ammo the dept of defence is buying from Israel, ban the import of certain foodstuffs- there’s lots a state can do to defend its citizens. By the way, it is not an ‘insane’ mission- anymore than Irishmen going to fight in Spain was insane. It is right and proper than people seek to break the blockade on Gaza and fair play to them.

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EWI - June 2, 2010

I think South Africa-style boycotts are suddenly much, much closer.

(And ironic considering last week’s focus on Israeli-South African cooperation on developing nukes over the decades)

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Eagle - June 2, 2010

I guess you could be right, but the United States will not go along with anything serious. There will be no concerted divestment schemes, etc.

It’s possible some people may look more closely at their oranges in the supermarket, but even that will blow over fairly quickly when this dies down again.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

I guess you could be right, but the United States will not go along with anything serious. There will be no concerted divestment schemes, etc.

They don’t have to. I believe that Israel’s biggest trading partner is the EU. Maybe it’s time to start cracking down on produce fraudulently mislabeled as ‘Israeli’ (when it was actually produced in the Israeli colonies in the occupied Palestinian lands). There’s a worthwhile beginning there, and we’re actually only enforcing international law in doing so.

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Eagle - June 3, 2010

I don’t know the answer myself, but do you think the United States would stand by while that happened? Or would the US act against Italian wine or French cheese or whatever.

I’m not sure myself, but there are a lot of people running for seats in the House & Senate in November and such a EU boycott would certainly be an issue.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

I don’t know the answer myself, but do you think the United States would stand by while that happened? Or would the US act against Italian wine or French cheese or whatever.

Why, exactly, would the US threaten an embargo over the simple enforcement of what is already international law, i.e. by cracking down on fraud by Israeli settlers? Seems to me that the WTO would have our back.

I’m not sure myself, but there are a lot of people running for seats in the House & Senate in November and such a EU boycott would certainly be an issue.

Well, there’s nutters in the US who got themselves worked up enough to threaten invading an EU country (the Netherlands) over the ICC. So I’m sure we’re used to it by now.

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13. Pope Epopt - June 1, 2010

Canceling the order for ammo would hit them where it hurts in a heavily militarised economy. If I remember rightly it’s a pretty big one for ten million rounds. Does anyone have the background to estimate the cost of this contract?

But European citizens from many countries were attacked, as well as many Turks. An EU wide approach would be more effective with the suspension of the EU-Israeli Association Agreement. The era of constructive engagement is over IMO.

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14. Ciaran O'Brien - June 1, 2010

http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/events/1275331484

The views of Israeli activists above.

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15. WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

Here’s something that attempts to ask some serious questions about what has been going on in terms of the action itself.

http://www.slate.com/id/2255625/

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Tim Johnston - June 1, 2010

That’s a very good article and sums up the situation from a practical perspective. It’s all gone wrong for Israel – Egypt has opened its borden and Turkey is pissed.
It would be a disaster for Turkey to destabilise, although the flotilla incident may be a symptom rather than a cause.

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WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2010

I think they’re pretty sensible in Turkey. And of course it’s a NATO member. Which piles one thing on another. We’re in for an interesting week. No doubt about it.

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Tim Johnston - June 2, 2010

Well they are and they’re not, WbS.
I’ve always been a supporter of Turkey and their entry into the EU, but there’s evidence they’re Islamicising fast. With thousands of pro-Palestinian rioters on his streets, what is Erdogan to do?

There’s no doubt that the flotilla was -in part – a shrewd attempt by Turkey to bolster her Islamic credentials, imho, and the Turks reaction to the crisis has been well-measured and will result in a central role for the country in any investigation or settlement.

While they are a NATO member, it must be remembered that they are still unlawfully occupying Cyprus which loses them some international brownie points.

I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

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shane - June 2, 2010

Turkey military protection of Northern Cyprus is not illegal.

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neilcaff - June 2, 2010

Technically no it isn’t as there are several treaties that authorise the interested parties, Turkey, Greece and the UK to use military force in Cyprus for a number of reasons, one being to protect the civillian population. Certainly a coup by the lunatics of the Greek Cypriot right wing didn’t bode well for the well being of Turkish Cypriots and of course there were atrocities against them, particularly in Paphos. So yes the initial Turkish intervention was probably legal.

But since then Northern Cyprus has declared unilateral independence with the backing of the Turkish military and that is illegal. So if the occupation becomes a means to carry out a UDI then you could argue it is illegal.

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16. neilcaff - June 2, 2010

Editorial from Hurriyet, Turkey’s largest circulation broadsheet: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=from-the-bosphorus-straight—the-final-act-of-mythology8217s-8216samson8217-2010-05-31

The tone is quite extraordinary. Hurriyet is generally linked to the secular, pro-military wing of the Turkish establishment. As such it’s been a staunch defender of Israel down through the years. Not anymore it seems.

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Eagle - June 2, 2010

I thought that editorial was pretty good whereas I think the Turkish PM was overdoing it.

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17. neilcaff - June 2, 2010

Did I say extraordinary? Check this out, Turkish PM Erdogan’s speach to the Turkish Parliament.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=video-erdogan-condemns-israeli-raid-on-gaza-aid-ship-2010-06-01

Man those Turks are pissed!

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18. sonofstan - June 2, 2010

I guess you could be right, but the United States will not go along with anything serious. There will be no concerted divestment schemes, etc.

True enough.

Over the past few days, there has been a debate on this issue on a site I spend too much time on, that’s not primarily political in focus, and with about equal representation of Americans and Europeans. obviously reaction has been different, and a lot of the US contributors are really shocked at the vehemence of the language from the Euro side – many of them thinking that this reaction represents an ‘extreme left’ or even an anti-semite position. When I and others pointed out that FF and Tory politicians and even Sarkozy were condemning this, and that, in Ireland anyway, outrage was pretty mainstream, there was disbelief.

Thing is, 20, 10, even 5 years ago Israel still had friends in Europe, and among the left too. They might ponder this before a young US generation is lost to them too (as the piece linked above from the NYRB warns).

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19. shane - June 2, 2010

sonofstan, that is quite interesting. The Israel/Palestine issue isn’t as much subject to a right/left divide in Europe.

The US ‘Old Right’/paleo-conservatives are usually very critical of Israel and American support for the state. Pat Buchanan and Republican Congressman Ron Paul are strong supporters of the Palestinians. The American Conservative magazine and its blogs are always well worth a read.

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sonofstan - June 2, 2010

Didn’t know that. Always figured that the further right you went in the US, the more pro- Israel you got.

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Eagle - June 2, 2010

Wasn’t it James Baker (Sec State under Bush I) who famously said, “F**k the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway” when discussing Israel?

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20. Ciaran O'Brien - June 2, 2010

I’m not sure I define Pat Buchanan’s position as ‘strong support for the Palestinians’. Though I suppose rather than building a wall between the West Bank and Israel he wants one between Texas and Mexico. Buchanan represents the 1920s brand of American conservatism/nativism (slightly updated in that Catholics pre se are not opposed but as for that other pesky ethnic group…) You see there’s a reason Pat is hostile to Israel and it’s not because he is sympathetic to the Palestinians.
In most cases sonofstan is right: since the 1970s the American Christian hard right has gravitated towards an extreme Zionist position. But the other fact of American life that differs from here is that lots of ordinary Americans identify with Israel in a way few in Europe do- they really do see it as a ‘little America’ surrounded by madmen. I’ve met Irish Americans, Italian Americans and Mid West farm boys who all instinctively supported Israel and thought the Palestinians were all ‘terrorists.’

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sonofstan - June 3, 2010

It’s an easy enough identification – you might call it ‘City on the Hill’ syndrome: each state self-consciously willed into existence as a refuge from persecution in bad old Europe, in territory considered to be theirs for the taking because its indigenous inhabitants were ‘nomadic’ and therefore ‘too primitive’ to go building states.

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

Is there really an either/or?
I mean, nearly everyone I know, including myself, favours a two-state ‘solution’ where everyone gets their own country. Only extremist Zionists, and of course Hamas, want a “one-state” solution whereby the other is wiped out.
The divide is not between right and left at all – wouldn’t it be a horrific indictment of all of us if it was? – but as regards the means by which the objectives are accomplished.
whereas American opinion is more divided than they let on, European opinion is disgracefully onesided, considering that Europe, not America, is the continent on which the holocaust occurred.

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sonofstan - June 3, 2010

WTF has what Israel is doing today got to do with the holocaust? Please?

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

nothing probably. but one would have thought there would be a stronger tradition in Europe of support for the existence of the State.

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yourcousin - June 3, 2010

I would like to point out that many “one staters” do not believe that a single state would/should not be mono-ethnic, but pluralist in nature. That would be the point. It would not be Jewish or Arab exclusively.

Sounds crazy I know, but what can I say?

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yourcousin - June 3, 2010

Sorry, please scratch that second “not”.

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EWI - June 3, 2010

I mean, nearly everyone I know, including myself, favours a two-state ‘solution’ where everyone gets their own country. Only extremist Zionists, and of course Hamas, want a “one-state” solution whereby the other is wiped out.

I know I’m facing an uphill struggle here, but there’s another option that’s quite well-known, and involves being a modern Western democratic state – exactly what ‘concern trolls’ claim that Israel is.

Of course, that would require the Israelis to move non-Jews up from second-class citizenship, and the fact that both Bibi and Lieberman are in government right now tells me that that’s not a likely proposition.

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

EWI – I should point out that non-jews inside Israel proper get the vote, as they do in the occupied territories of Golan and E Jerusalem.

They dont get it in the West bank however (and historically did not get it in Gaza, South Lebanon and the Sinai, somewhat compromising any “western-style democracy” claims)

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

Ramzi, when you say they don’t get the vote in Gaza and the West bank what do you mean? they can’t vote in Israel? don’t they have their own governments?
or did I read you wrong?

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

Hi Tim
They are two different situations

In the West Bank they dont get any representation in the Knesset, despite the fact the Israeli government is their defacto and dejure government.

They govern who goes on what roads, who can come into the territory, who can go out of the territory, and who flies in the skies above it. They can raid any part of the territory at any time. There is nowhere their security forces are barred from going.

The Palestinain Authority is like a local authority. It has no meaningful power.

There is no way someone could live in the West Bank and not recognise Israel as the governing power.
There is no way that governing a group of people and denying them representation in the relevant legislature is consistent with democracy as is currently recognised.

Gaza is different
I said “historically…Gaza”. As Israel has pulled out they have their own government. However when Israel did occupy Gaza (or indeed Lebanon) it refused to extend suffrage to the people thereby occupied.

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

sorry.. I will go on a bit :-)
imagine a situation where the brits ruled northern ireland but denied anyone the right to vote for candidates in the house of commons (and when it was also recognised that a vast majority wanted independence).

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

sorry, I really should think before I post.

East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are also internationally recognised as being illegally occupied.

However, the people there do have the right to vote in the Knesset.

So Israel is being inconsistent here by external standards.

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Eagle - June 3, 2010

I’ve come across this one-state solution proposition before, but it always strikes me as not rooted in reality. Short term I’m pretty sure there would be a large exodus of Jews out of Israel/Palestine. There’s a reason why so many Israelis have acquired EU passports – http://bit.ly/8Y822B

That’s the short term. But what of the long term? What would the future hold for the Jews?

All I could envisage is either a state riven like Lebanon or a state not unlike modern day Jordan (at best), which I’d suggest would not appeal to most Europeans. What incentive would there be for Israelis to accept such a proposition?

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

well, it depends, Ramzi. If the Gaza strip and the West bank are the twin bases for a Palestinian state – and they are – then it makes sense to begin setting up the institutions required by that state.
Israel does not occupy them by choice, and would rather not have to, I’m sure.
As Eagle suggests, there would be no Israel at all if everyone whom Hamas wants to have the vote – 9 million or so people – were given it. They would vote it out of existence, and G-d help the Jews in that scenario.
While I don’t think failure to unquestionably support Israel means you hate Jews and want to “drive them into the sea” as SoS says, the reality is that a one-state solution is a no-state solution.

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yourcousin - June 3, 2010

Eagle,
As I stated in my first post (a reply to post number 3) I think that right now the one state solution is impossible due to the polarization. That being said the two state solution is being gutted so completely that even if implemented tomorrow would not end the conflict.

The problem with your question (What would the future hold for the Jew?) is actually a huge part of the problem. Why don’t we ask, “what does the future hold for the citizens of Israel?” To be honest I don’t know, but even as you lay out your “unappealling” alternatives for the future we should keep in mind the fact that while the Israeli state has its boot firmly on the neck of the Palestinian people their demographics are increasing and Israel’s are declinging. Hence the ever present attempts to get more Jews to emigrate, so that the nature of Israel as a Jewish state can be preserved. Which is going against the natural demographic changes.

You ask about incentives for Israel to accept changes. I would say that the incentive is that the current state of things is not sustainable and that the sooner that Israel recognizes that the better it will be for everyone. It strikes me as odd to ask such questions, though you are perfectly within your rights to ask them. To me it is like two men fighting, one is on top of the other and will not stop hitting the man on the ground because he says that as soon as he does the other man (who is upset about being continually beaten) will get up and hit him. And that’s true, but to simply keep beating him to forestall the others anger is no plan at all and makes it worse in the long run.

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

eagle – the incentive not to dominate people without democratic mandate?

Although you are right – which i think means we will eventually see two states. Its getting there that is proving painful.

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

Tim
Right….so are you agreeing that Israel is not a democracy then? You seem to believe that it cant be otherwise it would be voted out of existence
(although i believe the numbers of palestinians are less than the number of israeli jews, so that would not happen)

I find it amazing that anyone thinks Palestinians dont deserve a vote in the parliament that governs them? What other ethnic groups would be underserving of representation? Would you accept it?

israel should either withdraw the occupation or give the Palestinians the vote. Or at least stop claiming to be a democracy.

by the way YC – I like your analogy.

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

well, that’s what the debate is about isn’t it? I don’t want to see a single state, everyone should have their own. Currently, Israelis outnumber Arabs living in Israel, but that would not be so if everyone Hamas thought should have the vote were given it, which would include a lot of people living in Jordan.
Palestinians (other than those living now in Israel) should no more have the vote in Israel than the French should have the vote in Irish elections. I think this is the position of all those in favour of a two state settlement.

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

But Ireland isn’t de facto governing France, so I’m not sure how any comparison between that and Israel/Palestine is valid.

Israel would not cease to exist if it granted the vote to the people it occupies. The influx of Palestinians would not outweigh the number of jewish people in Israel.
Hypotheticals of including people from Jordan (or france or Ireland for that matter) dont change that.

Even if it would cease to exist if that happened, it could then either withdraw or just stop falsely claiming to be a democracy… any option would make me happier :-)

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

Ramzi,
they don’t want to be a part of Israel qua Israel, why would anyone impose that on them?
You’re right about the numbers – except that Hamas (and maybe Fatah I don’t know) want everyone who has even lived in Palestine ever and all their children and grandchildren to have a vote, that’s about 12 million people.
And, btw, I think they should withdraw. But the consequences of a shift from the conflict from a NIAC to a IAC are part of the problem. Would the rockets stop? and the homicide bombers? I have little faith in that, unfortunately.

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Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

I wouldnt force it on them, its just that that being brutally occupied and having a vote is probably better than being brutally occupied without a vote. And I suppose its mainly just that it pisses me off that Israel calls itself a democracy.

Anyhow, re: would withdrawal lead to a stop of attacks.

Good question.

I would draw your attention to the fact that when israel has organised a negotiated withdrawal or ceasefire eg from the sinai or the peace with Jordan, it has worked well. When it has withdrawn under fire from areas with no agreement it has worked out badly.

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yourcousin - June 3, 2010

Tim,
One of the problems with the two state solution is that it fails to comprehensively address the right of return (and yes Fatah supports it as well, or at least they did under Arafat). I hate to say it but Hamas (and Fatah) are right to want those Palestinians driven from their homes in ’48 and ’67 to have a say and be taken care of. One of the problems with the very creation of Israel is that no one bothered to take into account the Palestinians. They were considered Arabs, period. But their not Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, or Egyptian anymore than I’m Canadian or French. Palestine (now Israel) is their home. That is the problem. Their home is now a state that will do whatever it takes to maintain a jerrymandered Jewish majority. That’s not right.

I would agree with you Tim that a land for peace deal would not stop attacks. It might quell them, but it would not could not stop. I don’t like to say that but I think it’s true. Because even a total handover of the Westbank and E. Jerusalem (neither of which is going to happen) fails to address the plight of the Palestinian diasporia that live (and have done so for the fifty plus years) in squalid refugee camps in surrounding countries. The deals for the Sinai and peace deals with Jordan will not work with the Palestinians because those deals were made with sovereign state, not a stateless nation. Nothing short of a substanative solution of the Palestinian diasporia and relief of the occupied territories will bring peace. If that was to happen then Israel would cease to be a Jewish state. So I don’t see it happening. I regret that, but fuck it, I also regret capitalism and my own wage slavery.

Sorry to stick my nose in someone elses conversation.

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Ramzi Nohra 1 - June 3, 2010

thats a wee bit on the pessimistic side YC!

i agree the egypt and jordan deals were done with soverign states.

However i think a deal could be done – west bank, east jerusalem and some limited right of return – and compensation. There would have to be strong security guarantees for the israelis in return, as well as an acceptance of israel as a jewish state, full trade and diplomatic relations etc

I think you couldnt completely rule out the possibility of the terrorist attacks. The GFA didnt stop Omagh.
But a serious settlement would isolate violent dissidents. The key thing then would not be to over-react.

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Tim Johnston - June 3, 2010

I think YCs suggestion is realistic, and takes into account that there is a high level of likelihood that attacks will continue. There is also the possibility than Israeli extremists will try to build settlements wherever they feel like it and this would provoke trouble.

The issue of Right to Return is a sticky one; frankly, they’ll never get it. Compensation is a good suggestion, but in that scenario there might be a call from Jews living in Israel -hundreds of thousands of them – who have been expelled or otherwise forced out of countries like Iraq over the years, to request compensation on similar grounds. (see http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/ for an alternative perspective).

However horrendous the expulsions were, the fact remains that Israel has the luxury of having been created by the UN, and Israel remains a relatively small part of the region. In short: there’s room for everyone.

The biggest stumbling block from the Israeli side – I think, I’m no expert – is, apart from the issues surrounding Israel’s right to exist, that creating a Palestinian state would create a new problem if that territory became hostile. It would now be an international matter rather than an internal one, and one that could see an alliance between ‘Palestine’ and Lebanon and Syra, which would escalate any conflict.

Of course, that is no excuse not to give the Palestinians the freedom to live their own lives, but it has to be considered. One solution might be to make ‘Palestine’ a UN (or Egyptian) protectorate, forbidding other alliances.

“the GFA didn’t stop Omagh”.
well said – and how much more dangerous are religious fanatics seeking martyrdom?

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EWI - June 3, 2010

@ Eagle

All I could envisage is either a state riven like Lebanon or a state not unlike modern day Jordan (at best), which I’d suggest would not appeal to most Europeans. What incentive would there be for Israelis to accept such a proposition?

The alternative that you’re suggesting here is to allow the Israelis (with the aid of the blank cheque that the US gives them) to kick the Palestinians around for another forty years. of misery. No thanks.

@ Tim

Israel does not occupy them by choice, and would rather not have to, I’m sure.

we can take your word for it, or we can look at the actual behaviour of Israel, which is where the ambition for a “Greater Israel” still exists and they are continuing to occupy, colonise and progressively annex lands which under international law are Palestinian.

As Eagle suggests, there would be no Israel at all if everyone whom Hamas wants to have the vote – 9 million or so people – were given it. They would vote it out of existence, and G-d help the Jews in that scenario.

On the other hand, the Israelis appear to be of the opinion that there’s a “right of return” to those lands for everyone with Jewish blood (most of whose families have been absent for many centuries), and that they will support the theft and colonisation of someone else’s land. This is happening right now, not fifty years ago.

But I guess that you don’t have any problem with that. What hypocrisy.

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yourcousin - June 3, 2010

Ramzi,
It’s not like I post anything regularly or have posted anything other than personal excuses for not posting, but the blog does have misanthropy in the title. That should tell you where I’m coming from.

Israel and Palestine long ago went past the boundaries of of conflict that presided within NI. I mean Kingsmill and La Mon. could be outdone in a single day. There is no Gerry Adams or MM, the “dissidents” are on the uptick and control Gaza. Both through force of arms and democratic elections. Israel is busy expanding Jewish settlements in E. Jerusalem and the West Bank. But yes I agree a deal could hypothetically be done. I would never in a thousand years bet on a said deal, but it could hypothetically be done.

But could someone please tell me how one can dictate demographics such as garaunteeing a Jewish state when the demographics are going in the opposite direction?

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Tim Johnston - June 4, 2010

EWI
it’s neither my business nor yours whom a sovereign nation gives citizenship too.
I might well be the most hypocritical person on earth and a Very Bad Man to boot, but it doesn’t change the reality that Israel was created as a homeland for Jews.

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EWI - June 5, 2010

it’s neither my business nor yours whom a sovereign nation gives citizenship too.

But apparently such natural rights don’t apply to Palestinians, it seems.

but it doesn’t change the reality that Israel was created as a homeland for Jews.

A great pity that someone else was already using it as a homeland first.

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21. Ramzi Nohra - June 3, 2010

yes Yourcousin has a point. I believe there has been a growing momentum among “moderates” for an one-nation solution as it would be harder to resist. How could the Israelis not grant a vote to west bank palestinians given that they rule over them, and still call themselves a democracy?

Although of course they do just that at the moment, it would be harder to maintain if a campaign purely focussed on that issue.

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sonofstan - June 3, 2010

Thing is, up to the war in Lebanon, I think most Europeans were prepared to consider Israel as a modern democratic state, albeit with a peculiar lineage. The face it presented to the world was secular, progressive and social democratic, and the argument that Arabs were better off within its borders than in neighbouring states held some water. The riff that you get from apologists for the present Israeli state – that if you oppose any of its actions, you want to drive the Jews into the sea- is well wide of the mark. I think most of us would just like Israel to live up to itself.

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22. EWI - June 3, 2010

Will Biffo do anything? The cunts who kidnapped our people have just sent a fuck-you note back:

Two Irish citizens deported from Israel were injured in scuffles with Israeli security personnel at Tel Aviv airport late last night.

Fiachra O’Luain was treated in hospital in Istanbul for injuries he is understood to have sustained at Ben Gurion Airport in the lead-up to his being deported from Israel.

His injuries are understood not to be serious.

Mr O’Luain has been visited by officials from the Irish diplomatic service.

The family of Libyan-born Irish citizen Al Mahdi Al Harati say that he called them from Turkish hospital in the early hours of this morning.

[...]

Housam Najjair, his brother-in-law, said that Mr Al Harati is being treated in the intensive care unit of Ankara’s Ataturk Hospital, after being beaten about the head and groin while in Israeli custody.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0603/mideast.html

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23. neilcaff - June 3, 2010

Socialist Party MEP attacks American Ambassador over support for Israel

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