Nothing that Israel's does is ever wrong. It's always the other side. Like a petulant child that never grows up, its always "they started it." But the world is growing tired and weary of Israel's carefully crafted propaganda that its sets in motion when it does stupid things and tries to blame it on the victim. There are some immutable facts that everyone knows: Israel has a criminal blockade around a strip of land that is one of the poorest and most densely populated places on earth where over 80 percent of the population cannot find work.
The Gaza Strip is a place where rubble, unpaved streets, bombed out houses, and raw sewage are ever present. The Gaza Strip is the world's largest refugee camp where Israel controls how much food, water, fuel and medicines get in and who gets out. It is a brutal 21st century form of apartheid that is far worse then the now defunct and discredited South African model.
No matter what Israel says, how it spins it, and no matter what its international sponsors say these are fundamental facts. Here are some other facts. One, Israel boarded a boat carrying a Nobel Peace Prize winner, former politicians and prominent people from Europe and the United States and others moved by the unbearable suffering of the Palestinians.
And despite Israel's well-practiced technique about being attacked, and claims that "we acted in self defense," the act of boarding the boat in international waters was and is an act of provocation. Here's the reasoning: the Turkish government inspected the boats and verified their cargo and found no weapons on board. The Israelis knew this but stung by open defiance to its diktat they decided on this reckless and confrontational course that ended with tragic consequences and sparked international condemnation.
In the wake of miscalculating the intensity of international outrage Israel fell back on tried and tested techniques. First, the boat was not a love boat but "a hate boat." Next, Israel's commandos acted in "self defense" the people on the boat should have just simply lay down on deck while "God's chosen people," who are never, ever wrong manhandle, bully and arrest everyone without any justification.
This flotilla of boats was not a military convoy and Israel's use of its military in international waters violates international rules of conduct. The state of Israel was not threatened or under attack. The intention of the flotilla was to break a criminal and inhumane blockade by peaceful means and bring food, water, medical supplies and personnel to help a people suffering under the brutal conditions of Israel's occupation. Israel says that the flotilla was "a provocation" but I submit that the provocation came when its commandos without authorization or justification boarded a boat that did not carry one soldier or rifle.
Now the new line from Israel's right wing prime minister is to play the Iran card. This is a careful and well thought out tactic. "Israel is facing an attack of international hypocrisy," he said, asserting that the Jewish state is the victim of an Iran-backed campaign to arm the Hamas rulers of Gaza with missiles that could hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Come again?
Netanyahu said the aim of the flotilla was to break the blockade, not to bring aid to Gaza. If the blockade ended, he warned, hundreds of ships would bring in thousands of missiles from Iran, to be aimed at Israel and beyond. The result, he said, would be an Iranian port on the Mediterranean. "The same countries that are criticizing us today should know that they would be targeted tomorrow," Netanyahu said.
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