Friday, June 4, 2010

It all goes back to the disengagement

When Israel evacuated the Jewish communities in Gaza in 2005, withdrawing the army at the same time was big mistake. Sharon was right about the disengagement in theory. But the current mess, and the flotilla incident, would look very different had the army stayed and left in a piecemeal fashion, over time, contingent on peaceful conditions.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not the first flotilla - some recent history

Some history to think about when considering the current flotilla incident:

Ehud Olmert was faced with an extremely similar situation:

Israel had told the activists to keep their boats away but ultimately decided to allow them to land, apparently to prevent a potentially more damaging public relations drama.

Arye Mekel, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the decision was made “to avoid the provocation they had planned at high sea,” and because the Israeli authorities knew exactly who was on board and what cargo they were carrying.

Bibi wasn't nearly as diplomatic in 2009. But to be fair, he probably expected this interception to go as well as the last one, with no loss of life:

Nineteen foreign activists of the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement were being held in Israel awaiting deportation on Thursday, two days after the Israeli Navy seized control of their boat off Gaza.

A former United States Representative, Cynthia McKinney, and an Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, were among those being held. Two additional Israeli activists were released without being charged on Wednesday, according to the group.

The Free Gaza Movement and other campaigners have sailed several boats to Gaza in the last year, saying they wanted to bring humanitarian aid and challenging the Israeli blockade. Israel has let some boats reach the coastal strip and forced others to turn back at sea.

Adam Shapiro's lies about the flotilla

I just heard Adam Shapiro ( on the radio, saying that his wife, Huwaida Arraf, was on board the flotilla. According to Shapiro, the Israeli troops surrounded the ships. They boarded the first ship by descending from a helicopter, and unprovoked, started shooting at and killing the civilians below. The civilians only acted in self-defense.

Obviously, this is untrue, even were it not coming from a notorious Palestinian mouthpiece like Shapiro.

Netanyahu's version, which I'm obviously much more inclined to believe, is that they dealt with 5 ships peacefully, and as they were boarding the last ship, they were attacked.

The only point of agreement is that the Israeli soldiers were boarding a ship by helicopter, and there was some kind of violence between the parties.

I really hope that the Israeli version of events will be fully borne out. Obviously, it's definitely much closer to the truth than the Palestinian version, and will probably turn out to be the complete truth.

But Shapiro and his ilk are already spreading their lies, and I fear that as usual, those lies will take hold as the accepted version of events.