Thanks to Oren Persico of the extraordinary Israeli media watchdog NGO, 7th Eye, who reported that Yediot Achronot columnist Sever Plotzker revealed that senior IDF officers vocally opposed the Israeli Navy’s attack on the Gaza flotilla. Yet no one in the Israeli media could report this:
Yediot Achronot and other [Israeli] media outlets were prevented from reporting that senior echelons in the military establishment opposed a military operation to stop the ship flotilla headed for Gaza.
““In quite a few newspapers in the State of Israel, we had preliminary information…that there figures in the defense establishment, very powerful and very significant figures, who objected to using the army to prevent the flotilla’s sailing into the State of Israel. This was not published in the newspapers.”
In the 7th Eye report, Plotzker does not make clear whether this was due to self censorship or IDF censorship. I would guess that it was the latter. If it was the former then the Israeli media has done a deep disservice to the nation by not reporting fully and fairly on the diversity of opinion within the IDF about this operation. If only the IDF itself had listened to those senior officers instead of going with a harebrained scheme that ended with such disastrous results.
In fact, if there is an inquiry into this tragedy this entire question should be aired. Who opposed the operation and on what grounds. Who supported it and on what grounds. Why were the opponents, whose power was quite strong according to Plotzker, overruled and by whom?
The IDF since 2006 has now faced three serious military disasters: Lebanon, Gaza, and now this. Israel refuses to learn the lesson that military force cannot end the conflict nor can it even get the result Israel sought last night. And in fact, the massacre last night will harm Israel’s interests. The worst thing a major power can do is overplay its hand, which is precisely what Israel did last night. A more nuanced approach would have succeeded where this one failed.
Ehud Olmert allowed the first Free Gaza ship to dock there. What would have been lost if Israel had allowed the ships to get to Gaza more than a little face on Israel’s part?
The Times reports that the Security Council, besides dealing with the attack itself, is coalescing around an approach which would call for Israel to end its blockade of Gaza. This is a call that is long overdue and a constructive outcome to this terrible mess:
Security Council members, who had broken off from their spring holiday to hold an emergency session prepared a draft document calling on Israel to lift its blockade and immediately release the ships and hundreds of international activists arrested on board them.
…The focus was shifting to Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the assistant Secretary-General of the UN Security Council, told council members that the bloodshed would have been avoided “if repeated calls on Israel to end the counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza had been heeded.”
Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council: “These events are clearly very serious, but we cannot view them in isolation . . . Israel’s restrictions on access to Gaza must be lifted. The current closure is unacceptable and counter-productive.”
I find it heartening that a Conservative led British government is making such a forthright statement. It compares unfavorably to the feeble comment from Pres. Obama who could only muster vague concern and a desire to get to the bottom of the matter, whatever that means. I find it hard to believe that my president will muster the courage and fortitude to either vote for or abstain from such a resolution. I foresee a U.S. veto. But does the Obama administration stop to think how this will look to Turkey and the rest of the Arab world, let alone to the western world which observes this mess with horror?
Read this and weep:
Behind closed doors, U.S. diplomats sought to prevent the council from authorizing a U.N. investigation into the Israeli raid, saying Israel should be given a chance to conduct a credible investigation first.
Just like the Goldstone commission gave Israel and Hamas an opportunity to conduct a credible investigation of their respective behavior during the Gaza war. Look at the credible investigations they both conducted. I’m sorry, but such behavior by U.S. diplomats is beyond pathetic. They must know that we need a credible INDEPENDENT investigation, not a whitewash of the type that the IDF ALWAYS conducts in such circumstances. The Netanyahu government has absolutely no motivation to conduct a viable inquiry. None. And delaying a UN investigation to give time for Israel to investigate itself is a means of obfuscation, hoping that the world’s attention will be deflected in the meantime.
What the U.S. should consider is whether it is willing to dispense with its good relations with Turkey. I can’t see how a U.S. veto will do anything but place our country in the doghouse in the same way that Israel is. In the long run is it not more important to have good relations with Turkey than with an obstructionist, off the rails Israeli rightist government?
Regarding the possible provocation posed by members of the flotilla who may’ve attacked IDF marines when they attempted to board the ship, frankly I don’t understand, if what the IDF survivors say its true, how they could’ve landed on a ship with only paint ball guns. Did they think they’d be welcomed with open arms? Why didn’t they attempt to make any contact with the ships before they landed on them? Why didn’t they explain what they wanted to do if it’s true that those rappelling only wanted to try to persuade the ships to follow Israeli directives.
If the IDF-provided video is accurate (and we must keep in mind that they are only offering us their version and not video that undoubtedly was filmed by those attacked), there was an attack on its soldiers. But that in no way justifies the killing of up to 20 of the protestors. While the attackers were violent, they could have been overcome with better preparations including stun grenades, a smokescreen and other procedures. That the IDF supposedly went from an unarmed approach to lethal fire bespeaks an impoverished tactical plan for the operation.