23 thoughts on “Flotilla Welcomes New Passenger, Fire-Breathing Dragon – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. She’s my new roommate and we’re getting along famously so far. Her name is Gorgonzola but we call her Zola for short. She’s actually a pussycat until she feels her friends are being threatened, at which point I’ve heard she starts to blow off steam. If not provoked she wouldn’t hurt a fly.

  2. loooooooool

    I wish,

    but then the IDF really would try to “plant” sulphur on the flotilla, with the hope that the dragon would solve the problem for them 🙂

  3. Richard, this was supposed to be a secret until the flotilla organisers unleashed it on the navy seals (after force-feeding it a few bags of sulfur to increase its firepower, of course). You are sabotaging the Palestinian resistance by making this public!

  4. The comments in Haaretz are not funny. They are scary. If they are not the result of some organized effort, but truly spontaneous, then Israeli public opinion has gone totally raving bloodthirsty mad.

    1. If the public believe the propoganda, then it’s not their fault. Blame the military intelligence that put it out, at least that is what the IDF is claiming, that they got the info from the intelligence services.

      1. I do blame the military intelligence (and the Israeli ‘explanation’ machine that spreads their nonsense). But I blame the Israeli media more. They, as journalists, have the task of filtering nonsense and propaganda from sensible analysis of what is going on. It seems they are not doing their job, and thus endangering their country. The Israeli perception of the flotilla is so far removed from public opinion in most western countries – traditionally pro-Israel – that it is in effect ‘delegitimizing’ Israel.
        As to “if the public believe the propaganda, then it’s not their fault” : that is just nonsense. Maybe in 1930’s Germany, when access to news could be easily monitored, but with all the independent news sources that are available nowadays that is no longer true. The media play an important role (as I said), but that does not mean there is no individual responsibility.

  5. Richard the breaking of a blockade is a serious matter, and whether you realize it or not the legality or illegality of the blockade and flotilla is not so straightforward. If you walk into a restricted area for the police let’s say, and you did it deliberately, after being warned many times, you can be arrested even if you were just an innocent person holding a teddy bear. So the whole premise of your post makes no sense!

    1. If I’m sailing in international waters no one, whether police, navy or anyone has a right to intercept me, hijack my ship & kidnap me, & certainly not violently. So I’m afraid it’s you who make no sense.

      1. That’s not true and quite ridiculous. If your intended purpose, openly and explicitly stated, is to break the blockade, then of course you can be stopped in int’l waters. If you’re on your way to do something illegal, and you make commercials on TV about it, and distribute flyers all over the neighborhood about what you’re going to do, and declare while you’re driving from a loudspeaker that you are now on your way to do this illegal thing, then of course you can be intercepted in “int’l streets” before you get there or do the act.

        1. of course you can be stopped in int’l waters.

          No, in fact you can’t. Because no one except Israel recognizes the blockade as a legal act. And even if they did international waters are not waters Israel controls, hence it has no right under maritime law to intercept unarmed vessels there. It would have such a right within Israeli territorial waters, but only there. The Flotilla is doing NOTHING illegal & no one except Israel has defined it as illegal. Nations have told their citizens not to go on the Flotilla. But that’s not the same as saying it is illegal.

          Read up on international law, & something beyond Dershowitz’s screeds on the subject.

          1. I have read up on it, you can start with Prof. Avi Bell’s studies on the subject (you’ve mentioned him before approvingly).

            Let’s use an extreme example for the sake of illustration. Let’s say a guy was going to bomb someone’s house. Are you saying he can’t be stopped until he’s physically in the house? He can’t be “intercepted” on the highway by the police? If someone is going to do something illegal, and they’re explicit about it, they have signs declaring what they’re doing, they have loudspeakers, according to you they can’t be stopped? This is common sense Richard, snap out of it man!

          2. I mentioned Avi Bell approvingly? What are you talking about? I don’t recall ever referring to Avi Bell & don’t believe I’ve ever heard of him. I’ve referred to Prof. Gershon Shaffir of UCSD with whom I think you’re confusing him. Gershon Shaffir & Avi Bell are NOT the same.

            Let’s say a guy was going to bomb someone’s house.

            So yr claim is that the Flotilla intends to bomb Israel? Yr analogy is dumb beyond belief. If your house is the site of conflict bet. 2 warring parties & I wish to try to make peace bet. them & you intercept me before I’m able to arrive, arrest me, impound my car… then yes, you’ve done something illegal.

          3. Jon, that analogy is false. It only works if you regard the delivery of aid (and in the case of the US boat, a cargo of nothing but post) as being on the same level as plotting to bomb somebody’s house. You are just taking it for granted that a.) the flotilla is malevolent and b.) that Israel is within its rights to impose a siege on Gaza. Both assumptions are patently false. The media inspected the flotilla boats yesterday, at the participants’ own invitation, and found no weapons of any kind – least of all the dangerous chemicals that the activists were supposed to be harbouring. As for the siege, the idea that it is purely motivated by security concerns crumbles to nothing when you consider the goods that Israel banned from being imported to Gaza – among them coriander and children’s crayons. Pasta was added to the list of permissible items only after the personal intervention of John Kerry. Even now, after the supposed easing of the siege (brought about in part by the attention the flotillas stirred up), less than one-tenth of the aid materials required are passing into Gaza. This is collective punishment. It’s wrong both legally and morally, and the flotilla activists are perfectly within their rights to challenge it.

          4. Vicky I highly recommend Avi Bell’s study of the siege. He is a professor of international law. To make a long story short, a naval blockade is a perfectly legal method of self defense for a country to use. Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization which has fired thousands of rockets into Israel and murdered hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings. The Palestinians elected this group to lead them, and Israel has responded appropriately. The conditions in Gaza are still
            superior to those in Egypt, and Israel allows tons of material in every day despite the official state of hostilities. Hamas continues to hold Gilad Shalit in captivity with no proof of life, while Netanyahu recently decided to cease the program of advanced academic studies for Hamas terrorists in Israeli prisons.
            To challenge a naval blockade is an illegal act, and Israel is perfectly within its rights to intercept the flotilla.

          5. Just took a look at Avi Bell’s Wikipedia entry. So he teaches at a Catholic univ. in San Diego and Bar Ilan, two very right wing schools. He’s publicly attacked Human Rights Watch’s reports on Israeli massacres in Lebanon and Gaza. I’d say he’s a pretty partisan dude on the order of Alan Dershowitz. While the article claims he has expertise in international law, he currently teach property and copyright at the USD law school. If his expertise on international law was as great as you would like it to be that’s what he’d be teaching.

            The blockade is not, for the last time, self-defense since it does not achieve that aim. It is purely a political act of revenge against Hamas & people of Gaza for allowing Hamas to run the place.

            Israel has responded appropriately.

            Which is the opinion of you, Avi Bell, Alan Dershowitz & Bibi Netanyahu. Congrats, you’re in excellent company.

            The conditions in Gaza are still superior to those in Egypt

            Can you show me a single Egyptian who’s said conditions are so swell in Gaza that they’d change places with them in a heartbeat? No? Why not, if conditions are better in Egypt? You’re peddling a load of rubbish, & stinky rubbish at that.

            Israel allows tons of material in every day

            Wow, you mean for 1.5 million people Israel allows “tons” of goods in every day? Wow, that works out for about 4.5 ounces (very approx.) for every Gazan. Let’s all on the count of 3 say, “Hip, hip hooray for Israel!” UN relief agencies say Israel allows in 1/3 of the number of supply trucks needed for a population the size of Gaza. Those are facts as opposed to the bulls(%t you’re peddling.

            Netanyahu recently decided to cease the program of advanced academic studies for Hamas terrorists

            Look, you can’t piss on our backs & make us think it’s rain. “Advanced academic degrees?” Are you for real? He put the longest serving Palestinian political prisoner (34 yrs) in solitary confinement. That’s the sort of punishment he’s inflicting on Hamas because they won’t accede to Israel’s terms in freeing Shalit. And Israel thinks a bit of punishment to prisoners inured to the pain Israel can inflict will break them or pressure Hamas to do Israel’s bidding??

            To challenge a naval blockade is an illegal act

            Sorry, but it’s the blockade that is illegal. Resistance to an illegal act is not only permissible, but honorable. You, on the other hand are dishonorable. And you’re done in this thread. YOu’ve said yr piece ad nauseam. Look for something else to comment on & respect what I’ve just told you.

          6. Jon, Hamas was created in 1987, and Israel encouraged its formation as part of a strategy to diminish the threat posed by pan-Arab nationalism. The first suicide bombing did not take place until 1993. The dispossession and oppression of the Palestinian people predates these events by decades. The siege on Gaza is all of a piece with the sixty-odd years of oppressive Israeli policy towards Palestinians that preceded it, and it needs to be understood in that context.

            The election of Hamas to power also takes on a very different aspect when you consider the widespread corruption in the PA and the extent of the social and community projects instigated by Hamas prior to its election. They were able to present an attractive alternative to Fatah for these reasons alone. To support brutal collective punishment on the grounds that the Palestinians freely opted for Hamas is to ignore what their situation was like previously and the desperation they were experiencing as an impoverished community under suffocating policies.

            According to both the United Nations and aid agencies operating in Gaza, Israel currently allows just under one-tenth of the necessary goods and materials to enter the Gaza Strip. I have noticed that supporters of Israeli policy like to describe the aid that enters the strip in very vague terms, such as ‘thousands of tons’ – which sounds impressive until you realise that millions of tons are needed, and this is barely a trickle. Every day an IDF spokesperson announces the number of aid trucks ‘allowed’ into Gaza (‘allowed’ is his word) via Twitter, apparently as part of a public relations effort. But I am not going to be bowled over at Israel’s magnamity at permitting 246 trucks to enter the Strip when I know that around 3,000 are needed. If you are determined to cling to the idea of the siege as a security measure, you should consider whether it’s an effective strategy for peace to reduce people to such dire poverty that 90% of their water is unfit to drink (Israel bombed the desal plant during Cast Lead and hasn’t allowed in the materials for its reconstruction) and over 80% of them require UN food aid. Such terrible hardship is more likely to foment militancy than to suppress it – this has been demonstrated in conflict zones across the globe.

            The comparison with Egypt is particularly unfortunate given that so many Gazans are currently desperate to cross into Egypt for medical treatment that can’t be performed in Gaza’s severely underresourced hospitals. Despite the supposed opening of the Rafah border, most people seeking to receive healthcare in Egypt are being turned away. Recently it was the mother of Sameeha Elwan (blogger at ‘Here, I Was Born’). She needs surgery that can’t be done in Gaza. Would you be prepared to tell a seriously ill woman who is being deprived of healthcare by the siege that she has it better than the Egyptians? I doubt it.

            It is only possible for proponents of Israeli policy to come out with such statements because they are insulated from the reality of life in Gaza. They don’t have to look at what life is like on the other side of that fence. They won’t find Gazan voices unless they specifically go looking for them. Instead they can take their news from the Israeli government and military spokespeople, confident that they will never hear anything to trouble them. This is one of the most disturbing effects of the siege – the way it erases the people living under it from public view.

  6. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the venture, this latest flotilla is about to set sail against the dark lords of Israeli sea-power and we can only hope that, on this occasion, results won’t be anywhere near as bad as they were the last time.
    It might be as well to remember that what we have here is but a single aspect of an ongoing tragedy, a tragedy that has held this part of the world in its grip for well over sixty years. |It could be argued that a few small boats are unlikely to change matters all that much. But it is somehow reassuring to know that there are still those prepared to try.

    Why is it, though, that nobody ever allows for the one fundamental factor that is so characteristic of this entire conflict?

    That factor is the adversarial nature of the contest, the diametrically opposed positions taken up by forces on both sides and maintained as such throughout decades of struggle and privation. As it is, this flotilla is one more feature of this instinctive drive to confront and drive the matter onward; although where exactly ‘onward’ might be leading us remains to be seen.

    This is the overall situation at any given moment:

    !!!———} {———!!! Each community faces the other, neither one daring to back down; everyone pushing forward with their own political or military agenda.

    !!!———}{———!!! Events sometimes bring the two parties into closer proximity than normal and this causes clashes to erupt.

    !!!———{}———!!! Serious fighting can then take place and this is generally brought to a halt only after the intervention of strong international pressure.

    !!!———} {———!!! Once successfully separated, the combatants return to more normal levels of hostility and settle in to meet with whatever next trial of strength is on its way.

    !!!——-{{{– –}}}——-!!! Why has no method ever been found that allows them all to leave the battlefield entirely, never to return.

    Could conditions prevail where that same adversarial posture, so often a source of all the contention, becomes a distinct asset in the search for peace?

    If we were to dust off the rule book here, amend or even replace one or two of its long cherished parameters, then some cause for optimism may well be the result. The old rules of warfare have profited us but little over the years; perhaps new ones will serve us better.

    If there are people now prepared to risk the open sea in boats that are not exactly the safest in the maritime world, surely the rest of us have enough balls to rework the ancient verities and come up with something that settles this matter once and for all.

    !!!———————-!!! The enemy of my enemy is my friend. But, when you yourself become your own worst enemy, your enemy gains a new friend, one he is more than happy to have in the furtherance of his cause.

    And with such an abundance of ‘friends,’ it’s quite hard to see how this conflict could continue for very much longer.

    Or any other similar conflict for that matter.

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